Bird's Eye View of Chicago Showing the City Heights Where the Finger is Pointing on the Map [and on verso:] A Plat of a Part of the City Heights.
Bird's Eye View of Chicago Showing the City Heights Where the Finger is Pointing on the Map [and on verso:] A Plat of a Part of the City Heights.

Sign up to receive email notices of recent acquisitions.

Bird's Eye View of Chicago Showing the City Heights Where the Finger is Pointing on the Map [and on verso:] A Plat of a Part of the City Heights.

Chicago: Thomas P. Keefe, 177 La Salle St., 1892. Chromolithograph, 23” x 16.25” plus margins; plat map in black and white on verso, 23” x 15” plus margins. CONDITION: Good, small separations and bits of loss along one vertical fold, bit of chipping and small tears in margins, toning to upper-left portion of recto; no significant losses.

An unrecorded promotional map for City Heights in northeast Chicago, with verso plat map.

The 1890s were years of considerable growth for Chicago, a decade that saw the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) and an increase of 600,000 in the city’s population. This map shows the entirety of the city at a time when it was home to nearly one and a half million people. The map spans as far west as Oak Park and is bounded by Lake Michigan in the east. Chicago and its vicinity are densely depicted with buildings, trees, roads, etc. In the upper-middle section, a manicule points to City Heights (which is colored green), where railroads and cable car lines are shown converging. Parks are also colored green, and the location of the Chicago World's Fair is indicated, which took place the following year. Featured on Lake Michigan is a table of population from 1837 (when Chicago was incorporated) to 1892, and a vignette showing a settlement in Chicago in 1832 consisting of teepees, a log cabin, and a fort.

By the early 1890s, developer Thomas P. Keefe owned at least 317 acres in the town of Jefferson (present-day Jefferson Park) and put much money into the area—adding six-foot sidewalks, street-curbs, and graded and macadamized streets. The area of Jefferson was first settled in the 1830s and was incorporated as Jefferson Township in 1850 until it was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. Chicago’s City Heights, described here as “containing some of the very best residence property in the city,” is hailed as “the greatest opportunity ever opened up and offered in Chicago” and is called “the New Eldorado.” Appealing to home-buyers and investors, Keefe advises that one can “make some money” or “get a beautiful residence” “for a few hundred dollars.” Prices of the first few lots offered ranged from $375 to $575, and Keefe’s agents were on the grounds “at all times.” City Heights previously had no streetcar service nor access to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad—a problem rectified by newly established rail and streetcar lines. The fare on all lines was five cents and the approximate time it took to travel downtown to Chicago’s Court House from City Heights was 19 to 23 minutes. The attractions of City Heights touted include the only high ground and natural forest of oak timber within Chicago’s city limits.

The verso features a plat of a section of City Heights, spanning from Fullerton Ave in the north to Grand Ave in the south, and from West 52nd to West 48th. Railroads, trains, and a proposed cable car line are depicted, and illustrated below are various residences, churches, and schools in City Heights. Text from Keefe reads: “Some people are born rich and others achieve riches, and still others have riches thrust on them. The latter are those who are now buying property at the City Heights at the present prices. I cannot afford to hold all the property. I must let go of some of it and try and get the value for the rest.”

No copies recorded in WorldCat.

A scarce map documenting a large real estate venture in Chicago during a transformative decade in the city’s history.

REFERENCES: The Real Estate and Building Journal, Vol. XXXIII, No. 27 (Chicago: 4 July 1891) archive.org.

Item #7092

Sold

See all items in Maps