American Urban History


Chicago was a destination for French explorers, missionaries and fur traders in the 17th century. Founded in 1832, it was recognized as an important business location due to its proximity to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. It grew quickly, but in 1871 a fire destroyed the new city. Rebuilt bigger and better it emerged as a major center of manufacturing, commerce, finance and culture.

Chicago Fire--1871

Chicago in Flames--The Rush for Lives Over Randolph Street Bridge.
Originally from Harper's Weekly.

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Jessica Wagner Webster
Newman Library, 523

Visual History