Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Interpretive Digital Essay : The Plan of Chicago
The Plan of Chicago
Chicago in 1909
Planning Before the Plan
Antecedents and Inspirations
The City the Planners Saw
The Plan of Chicago
The Plan Comes Together
Creating the Plan
Reading the Plan
A Living Document
Wood-cut of Chicago in 1834
Return to "Planning Before the Plan"

This is the first illustration in the first chapter of the Plan of Chicago. It is somewhat unusual among views of the city, as the vantage is along the lakeshore from the north. The view over the lake from the east is the most popular. In any case, the depiction is more predictive than historically accurate, since in 1834 Chicago was neither this bustling nor as fully and densely populated. There were probably fewer than four hundred people when the area was incorporated as a town in 1833. Chicago conducted a census after it became a city in 1837 that counted 4,170 people, 3,989 of whom were listed as white, 77 as black, and 104 as sailors on Chicago-owned vessels.