Map Showing the Position of Chicago In Connection with the North West & the principal lines of Rail Roads, Canals, Navigable Streams and Lakes, together with the most important Towns, and their distances from Chicago.
By: Edward Mendel
Date: 1850 (circa) Chicago
Dimensions: 16.75 x 25.5 inches (42.5 cm x 64.8 cm)
This map of the north-central United States was published in the 1850’s by Edward Mendel. The title of the map describes its content, which includes all the aforementioned topics in great detail.
Of particular interest is the widespread development of the railroad network of the area in the mid-19th century, with Chicago being the obvious hub for the north-central states, and with lines extending in virtually all directions from Chicago. In addition, it includes all navigable waterways. The importance of Chicago as a transportation hub began in the 1840’s when the Mississippi River was connected to Lake Michigan by the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Chicago quickly became an industrial center with myriad products and foodstuffs produced and/or processed and shipped from the rapidly growing city. Industries such as milling, slaughtering and packing of meat products, soap and candle making, tanning, brewing and distilling all contributed to the demand for rapid growth of transportation by rail.
When iron and copper were discovered in the Lake Superior region, railway lines were built to accommodate shipments of raw ore from mining sites. Detroit had also become a manufacturing center, and served as the capital of Michigan for some time. Hundreds of factories manufacturing myriad goods such as stoves, boilers, furniture, paper, clothing, footwear, foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages were located in Detroit. The capital was changed to Lansing in 1847 in order to develop the western part of the state and to make it easier to defend borders against British troops who were stationed in Windsor, Ontario. Detroit’s harbor had countless wharves extending out over the water for easy loading of both freight vessels (with a wide variety of products) and passenger ships. Toledo, Ohio also grew quickly following its founding in 1833 due to the various canal systems and its location on the railway between Chicago and New York.
As transport by rail became more preferable to canal transport, Toledo also became an important railroad hub. This map encapsulates the history of the rapid development of this important part of the country. The upper right quadrant of the map contains a chart labeled ‘Distances From Chicago’ and includes the distance from Chicago to 28 important American cities. A colored inset map in the lower right quadrant under the heading ‘Illinois Geological Survey’ is color-coded, with an explanation explaining the colors used positioned directly above the map.
Condition: This folding map is in B+ condition. Separations at folding lines have been expertly repaired with archival material on the verso.
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