Sketched and Drawn by: Parsons & Atwater
Published by: Currier & Ives
Date: 1874 (Published) New York
Dimensions: 22.75 x 32.5 inches (57.8 x 82.5 cm)
A striking example of the first issue bird's-eye-view print of the City of Chicago, originally sketched and drawn on stone by Parsons and Atwater and published by Currier and Ives. The work was later reprinted in 1892 by Currier and Ives in far greater numbers for the Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago. This 1st edition lithograph print is rare to the market and OCLC notes just four other institutional examples.
Looking down on Chicago and out to an horizon of farms that would be known in the following century as Chicagoland, this fine print offers a vivid aerial perspective of Chicago as it was just 3 years after the Great Chicago Fire. Rebuilt on the ashes of old Chicago, the city has expanded along with its working class population and has established itself as an artery of a growing nation with regards to the massive amount of raw materials and manufactured goods making their way from the east to the Western Frontier via the canal and river systems or the rapidly growing railway.
The population of Chicago during the mid-1870s was right around 400,000, up by nearly 370,000 inhabitants 24 years earlier according to the 1850 census. This massive influx of people came as a result of the opportunity for work the city provided. This bird's-eye-view shows a city with packed with housing built around an efficient industrial network. Factories are lined along the banks of the canals that are bustling with marine traffic, fed by an active lakefront with tall ships and steamers of a wide variety. The city itself looks alive with moving trains, horse drawn carriages and people moving about the lake front, city streets, and swing bridges that were continually being built over the rivers.
Important buildings a places throughout Chicago illustrated with remarkable detail and are identified below. From right to left we note many of the places, including the Union Stock Years, Brighton Trotting Park, McCormick Reaper Works, Chicago Mallable Iron Works, the Michigan Southern, Chicago Rock Island & Pacific railroad depot, the Palmar House, Tribune Building, Douglas Park, St. James Church, Water Works (the Chicago Water Tower, Washington Square, and Lincoln Park.
With such painstaking attention to detail this rare and exceptional work brings to life the city of Chicago, an American city with a history unlike any other in the midst of what had been a half century transformation from a sleepy frontier settlement along a marshy lakefront to an industrial and economic powerhouse that would be known worldwide. This rare lithograph is a standout piece in any Chicago collection, home or office and will no doubt continue to draw eyes and appreciation for years to come.
Auction Results of Comparable Pieces
- The City of New York by: Parsons & Atwater, 1876 : $12,000 Hammer in Swann Auction - June 23, 2022
- The City of St. Louis by Parsons & Atwater, 1874 : $10,000 Hammer in Leslie Hindman Auction - November 12, 2018
Condition: This fine lithograph print is in A condition with some light mat burn in the margins as well as a few minor marginal tears. The work is currently framed and can be shipped as such for an additional cost or removed from the frame and shipped alone at our standard rate.
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