You are here

Getting Around the Metropolis

The late nineteenth century was a period of great innovation for public transportation in American cities. To some extent, necessity was the mother of invention. Rapid urban growth, both in population and territory, made it increasingly difficult for persons who needed to cross town in their daily business to do so. Horse-drawn omnibuses came into use in the middle decades of the century to alleviate the difficulties of travel, but these contributed to public sanitation problems. Ultimately, entirely new technologies took over, such as cable cars, electric trolleys, and elevated railroads. The profusion of new types of vehicles and transport infrastructure, however, also contributed to urban congestion. In Chicago, where so much activity was concentrated in the central business district, the problem was particularly acute. The established radial pattern of the railroad mainlines fanning out from the city to its hinterland also linked the heart of Chicago to its suburbs, but contributed to the concentration of traffic downtown. The resulting congestion, pollution, and safety hazards caused, in the words of the Plan of Chicago, "the irritation of the nerves." Those who could afford to escape this congestion did so either permanently by moving their residences to the suburbs, or temporarily by seeking recreational opportunities in the countryside.

 

PRINT

Akerman, James R. Akerman, James R. “Blazing a Well-worn Path: Cartographic Commercialism, Highway Promotion, and Automobile Tourism in the United States, 1880-1930.” Cartographica 30 (1993) 1: 10-20.

Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Cudahy, Brian J. Destination Loop: The Story of Rapid Transit Railroading in and around Chicago. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press, 1982.

Hilton, George W. The Cable Car in America. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Lind, Alan R. Limiteds along the Lakefront: The Illinois Central in Chicago. Park Forest, IL: Transport History Press, 1986.

McShane, Clay, and Joel A. Tarr. The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century. Baltimore : The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

Miller, Warren. The Cable Car Book. Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts, 1980.

Stover, John F. History of the Illinois Central Railroad. New York: Macmillan, 1975.
Tobin, Gary Allan. “The Bicycle Boom of the 1890s: The Development of Private Transportation and the Birth of the Modern Tourist.” Journal of Popular Culture 7 (1974): 838-49.

Young, David M. Chicago Transit: An Illustrated History. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1998.

 

WEB

Carlson, Norman. “Trains From Randolph Street.” First & Fastest (Summer 2006). http://www.transportation.northwestern.edu/docs/2006/2006.07.17.Carlson....