Skokie A Community History Using Old Maps

Skokie Historical Society

Chicago Neighborhood History Project

Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library

 11. An Early Highway Map: Detail from a Road Map, 1915


The coming of the automobile changed many things, not the least of which was the shape of the city and the maps made to describe it. This portion of an early highway map covers much of the same area as that reproduced on map 3 from the Rees map of 1851. In just one lifetime, the interval of 65 years, the region was trans­formed.

The way maps were drawn also changed. The emphasis on the section lines and township boundaries disappeared in the new highway maps. Natural features on the map like groves, wetlands and streams were replaced by symbols for roads, parkways and railroads. Note that a rigid boundary line appears to divide the city from the sur­rounding area. The familiar double V remains, however, an orientation point in Niles Township and a forceful reminder of Indian trails and pioneer paths.

Although this is, by title, a road map, the railroads seem to dominate it. In Niles Town­ship the street pattern remains much the same as on map 7, but the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad line appears for the first time with an unnamed station a hit to the southeast of Niles Center. The railroads also seem to point out the center of the city with prominently marked terminals looking rather like tadpoles heads surfacing near the main stem of the Chicago River.

The prominent parks and connecting parkways in Chicago bear familiar names, but some of the suburbs do not. The large type used for labeling Gross Point is something of a mystery. It was just a post office, established for the third time in 1839, only to he dis­continued in 1929.




Poole Brothers Road Map of Chicago and Vicinity (1915).
Curriculum library, Chicago Metro History Fair

The Chicago Neighborhood History Project is Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Skokie Public Library. 

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