Hathaway, Chicago with the School Section (1834)

During Chicago’s real estate boom in the 1830s, speculators quickly subdivided land adjacent to the original plat James Thompson had drawn in 1830, creating a demand for updated maps. John H. Kinzie, one of Chicago’s earliest Euro-American settlers, commissioned Joshua Hathaway, Jr., to produce the first revised plat, incorporating the blocks Thompson had surveyed within a broader area. When New York lithographer Peter A. Meisner printed 600 copies of Hathaway’s map in 1834 for John H. Kinzie (son of the John Kinzie, one of the first white settlers of Chicago), Chicago with the School Section, Wabansia, and Kinzie's Additions became the first published map of the city.

Hathaway’s map shows the same area of land as the General Land Office (GLO) plat from the same year (see previous image) but it emphasizes different features. Whereas the GLO manuscript featured topographic data and survey measurements, Hathaway’s printed sheet highlighted cultural information. By this time, Chicago’s rapid expansion prompted real estate speculators to clamor for new maps that showed the latest additions to the city. By 1834, five parcels had been added to the town, including the large school section, doubling Chicago’s size. Hathaway called attention to three of these additions, outlining them in contrasting colors. The school section, outlined in yellow, was mandated by the state of Illinois. The state government passed a law in 1819 calling for a parcel of public land to be set aside in each township to finance public schools. Local school boards could then use the revenue from the sale of the land to erect school buildings and pay teachers. Kinzie's Addition, marked in blue, encompassed the land on which pioneering fur trader Jean Baptiste Point du Sable had established a home by 1788. Point du Sable sold the house and left Chicago in 1800. (The land belonged to the federal government since the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.) The elder John Kinzie moved there in 1804.

Wabansia refers to the triangular tract of land outlined in green, just north of Kinzie Street and west of the north branch of the Chicago River. Its name derives from Waubansee, a Potawatomi chief who had opposed the Indian attack of Ft. Dearborn in 1812 and had protected John Kinzie and his family during the attack. Hathaway also demarcates the lakefront land at the mouth of the river controlled by the federal government and notes the location of Fort Dearborn, near the northern edge of the federal parcel.

Adapted from Michael P. Conzen and Diane Dillon. ed. Mapping Manifest Destiny: Chicago and the American West (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008)



Conzen, Michael and Dillon, Diane. Mapping Manifest Destiny: Chicago and the American West. Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2007.

Danzer, Gerald. “Chicago’s First Maps.” In Chicago Mapmakers: Essays on the Rise of the City’s Map Trade, edited by Michael P. Conzen. Chicago: Chicago Historical Society for Chicago Map Society, 1984.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Rising up from Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Holland, Robert. Chicago in Maps: 1612-2002. New York: Rizzoli, 2005.

Joshua Hathaway, Jr., Chicago with the School Section, Wabansia, and Kinzie's Addition (New York: Peter A. Meisner, 1834). The Newberry Library: VAULT drawer Graff 1817