Mapmakers Lie: Grant Park in 1913

Previous Post: History of Grant Park, 1909-1914

To show that illustrators and mapmakers can lead you seriously astray, here is an enlargement from Birds Eye View of the Elevated Railroads, Parks and Boulevards of Chicago published in 1913. The unwary sightseer who took “Lincoln Park Boulevard” over the bridge through beautifully landscaped Grant Park to “Fields Museum” would find that none of these features existed nor ever would in the locations indicated. The mapmaker didn't need lessons from the classic book How to Lie With Maps.

The reality is shown in this aerial photo from Smoke Abatement and Electrification of Railway Terminals in Chicago. The breakwater on the left, busy Michigan Avenue on the right and the spire of the Illinois Central Station at 12th in the background serve as reference points.

Not much had been done south of 12th. However the hole in the south end of the breakwater indicates work was under way. The Field Museum would be built directly over the end of the breakwater.The newly made land north of 12th and east of the tracks doesn’t appear overly solid yet. It still had standing water and the roads don’t cross it.

Next: History of Grant Park, 1915-1930