Chicago, 1900-1914

Chicago, 1900-1914

Click on the links below to access scans of some of the sheet maps of Chicago from the years between 1900 and the onset of World War I that are held at the University of Chicago Library's Map Collection.

The maps portray a city where much that was true of Chicago in the 1890s remained the case. Chicago continued to grow, reaching a population (not counting suburbs) of nearly 2.2 million in 1910, and perhaps 2.4 million in 1914, when (by some measures) it was still the world’s sixth largest city.* The expansion of the elevated railroad system also continued in the new century. There were 34.8 miles of line at the beginning of 1900 and 70.3 at the end of 1914, when Chicago's "L" was apparently the third longest metropolitan railway in the world.* These rail lines were firmly focused on Chicago's central business district, the Loop, which continued during the first years of the 20th century to acquire an ever more impressive collection of office buildings, department stores, and cultural institutions.

There were some substantial alterations in urban geography during these years . The Sanitary and Ship Canal was finally finished in 1900, and waste began to be sent down toward the Mississippi rather than into Lake Michigan. Three major electric interurban lines, opening one by one in the early years of the 20th century, provided alternative routes to and from the surrounding region. At the same time, the size of factories increased, and much of the new growth in manufacturing was concentrated on the city's South Side (for example, in the Central Manufacturing District) and in the Calumet Region, which extended from the southern part of the city eastward around the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Finally, Chicago's modern street numbering system was established in 1909.

The maps were scanned at 400 dpi using NextImage software and were saved as tiff files

You can access these files in two different ways:

[1] Click on the thumbnails below to see the files in a program called Zoomify. Zoomify breaks the original tiff files into tiny jpegs, so you can zoom in and out and move around quickly and efficiently. Zoomify requires Flash and so won't work on many mobile phones.

[2] You can also see the files through Luna. Luna, like Zoomify, allows you to zoom in and out and to move around. It also allows download of jpeg versions of the files (click "Export"). To access the Luna files, click on the "Click here for Luna version" button.

The original tiff files are also available. E-mail from the "Questions about this page?" button below.

Downloaded files are freely available for personal or scholarly use. If you use the images in a publication, we expect that you will mention that the original maps--and the files--are from the University of Chicago Library's Map Collection.

Several of the maps are in poor shape. We have generally resisted the temptation to do serious digital restoration work.

Several people contributed to the construction of this Web site. Joost Dupon of the Map Collection did most of the scanning and most of the Photoshop manipulation as well. Shannon Thompson of the Map Collection did the majority of the necessary editing of cataloging records. The Digital Media Laboratory let Map Collection staff use its Contex scanner; Dale Mertes of the Digital Media Laboratory was particularly helpful. Christine McCarthy of the Library's Preservation Department was good enough to do some emergency conservation work on the 1914 transit map. Social Sciences Bibliographer Frank Conaway made some useful editorial suggestions about this text. John Jung of the Digital Library Development Center helped with the programming. Bobby Butler of the Map Collection did some light file editing in 2014. And Bridget Madden of the University of Chicago's Visual Resources Center and Charles Blair of the Library's Digital Library Development Center developed a protocol in 2015 that allows access via Luna. 

Additional maps of Chicago in the early 1900s (and in the preceding and following decades) can be found elsewhere on the Internet. Topographic and other maps from this period are available through the University of Illinois Historical Maps Online project. The digital Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (available by subscription only) include building-by-building maps of early 20th-century Chicago. The Encyclopedia of Chicago Website includes several maps from this period. The companion Website, Social Scientists Map Chicago, contains several maps focusing on the same years.

Most maps of Chicago during this period--at the University of Chicago and elsewhere--remain available in paper only.

Comments are welcome.


ImageTitle InformationSubject HeadingsDescription
Rand, McNally and Co.'s street number guide map of the principal part of Chicago ; Rand, McNally & Co.'s street guide map of Chicago and suburbs showing the city limits. Chicago (Ill.)--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:26,000]. Scale [ca. 1:58,000]. Chicago : Rand McNally & Co., 1902. 2 maps on 1 sheet : col. ; 83 x 53 cm. and 68 x 48 cm., sheet 88 x 58 cm.
Maps on the Chicago transportation problem. Map no. 4 showing surface street railroads of Chicago -- Map no. 6 showing surface street railroads of Chicago -- Map no. 9 showing surface street railroads of Chicago. Street-railroads--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:50,000]. [Chicago : s.n., 1902]. maps : col. ; 72 x 44 cm.

Mitchell's real estate map of Chicago and suburbs : including towns of Norwood Pk., Leyden, Cicero, Riverside, the east half of Proviso, Lyons, Stickney, Calument, Worth, and the east half of Palos, Cook County, Illinois / Max Rondonell, draughtsman. Chicago Region (Ill.)--Maps.
Real property--Illinois--Chicago Region--Maps.
Scale [1:15,840]. Chicago, Ill. : William L. Mitchell, 1903, c1902. 1 map : col. ; 263 x 166 cm.
Rand, McNally & Co.'s new sectional railroad map of Cook, Lake, and Du Page Counties, with parts of adjoining counties, including the manufacturing district in Lake County, Ind. Railroads--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Railroads--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:105,000]. [Chicago] : Rand McNally & Co., 1903. 1 map : col. ; 112 x 90 cm.
Lake Michigan coast chart. No. 4, Chicago to Kenosha. Michigan, Lake--Maps.
Nautical charts--Michigan, Lake.
Scale [1:80,000]. [Detroit : Lake Survey, 1903]. 1 map ; 106 x 66 cm.

Talbot's industry and railroad map of Chicago. Railroads--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Railroads--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps.
Industries--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps. Land use--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Land use--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:25,000]. [Chicago] : E.H. Talbot, 1904. 1 map on 2 sheets : col. ; 206 x 117 cm.
Map of the business center of the city of Chicago in 1905. Central business districts--Illinois--Chicago--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:4,875]. [Chicago] : Chicago Directory Co., 1905. 1 map ; 71 x 70 cm.
McKinley Park. McKinley Park (Chicago, Ill.)--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:1,300]. Chicago : South Park Commissioners, 1906. 1 map ; 45 x 73 cm.
Map showing house numbers on section and half section line streets under plan for re-numbering streets in the City of Chicago, as required by ordinance in effect on and after September 1, 1909, and printed on back hereof. Chicago (Ill.)--Maps, Outline and base.
Chicago (Ill.)--Maps.
Street addresses--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:190,000]. Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Title and Trust Co., [1908?]. 1 map : col. ; 36 x 27 cm.

The Rand McNally new standard map of Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:25,000]. Chicago : Rand McNally & Co., 1910. 1 map : col. ; 203 x 117 cm.
Map of Chicago showing growth of the city by annexations. Annexation (Municipal government)--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Chicago (Ill.)--History--Maps.
Scale not given. [Chicago : s.n., 1911]. 1 map : col. ; 67 x 49 cm.
Official terminal map of Chicago and vicinity showing railroad lines, terminals, and yards / Office of Chief Engineer. Railroads--Illinois--Chicago--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:63,360]. Chicago : Chicago Association of Commerce, Committee of Investigation on Smoke Abatement and Electrification of Railway Terminals, 1911. 1 map : col. ; 89 x 93 cm.

Chicago waterways. Sheet no. 3, Map showing waterway transportation conditions. Waterways--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Waterways--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps.
Scale 1:62,500. Chicago : U.S. Engineer Office, 1911. 1 map : col. ; 86 x 107 cm.
Chicago waterways. Sheet no. 2, Map showing railway transportation conditions. Railroads--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Railroads--Illinois--Chicago Metropolitan Area--Maps.
Scale 1:62,500. Chicago : U.S. Engineer Office, 1911. 1 map : col. ; 86 x 101 cm.

Map showing distribution of population within the Sanitary District of Chicago / compiled by the Harbor and Subway Commission of the City of Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)--Population--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:25,000]. [Chicago] : Sanitary District of Chicago, 1912. 1 map on 8 sheets : photocopies ; 259 x 115 cm., sheets 72 x 64 cm. or less. Blue line prints.
Bird's-eye view showing the Chicago Junction Railway and Central Manufacturing District, the industrial center of Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)--Aerial views.
Chicago (Ill.)--Maps.
Not drawn to scale. [S.l. : s.n.], 1912. 1 map : col. ; 57 x 91 cm. Oriented with north to right.

Map of the Calumet District in Illinois and Indiana / compiled by Henry W. Lee. Calumet Region (Ill. and Ind.)--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:100,000]. [S.l. : s.n.], 1913. 1 map : col. ; 25 x 91 cm.
Real rapid transit at least cost / by Tomaz F. Deuther. Railroads, Elevated--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Local transit--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:82,500]. Chicago : North-West Side Commercial Association of Chicago, 1913. 1 map : col. ; 55 x 31 cm.

The Rand McNally new standard map of Chicago. Chicago (Ill.)--Maps. Scale [1:25,000]. Chicago : Rand McNally, 1913. 1 map : col. ; 203 x 117 cm..
Map of Chicago elevated railroads. Railroads, Elevated--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Local transit--Illinois--Chicago--Maps.
Scale [ca. 1:25,000]. [Chicago] : Rand McNally & Co., [1914?]. 1 map on 2 sheets : col. ; 84 x 135 cm., sheets 92 x 70 cm. Oriented with north to right.
School map of Chicago. Public schools--Illinois--Chicago--Maps. Scale [ca. 1:25,000]. Chicago : Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 1914. 1 map : col. ; 168 x 100 cm.

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