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
Room for Improvement
Return to "The City the Planners Saw"

Chicago reformers at the time of the Plan faced tough obstacles in both the city's actualities and its reputation.

Grand March at Bathhouse John's Ball


A cartoon by John T. McCutcheon in the Chicago Tribune , 1908.

See also: Gray Wolves; Machine Politics

"What Dante Missed."


Robert Harland's The Vice Bondage of a Great City (1912) typified early twentieth-century portrayals of Chicago as riddled with vice. The book's refrain, "Chicago is the Wickedest City in the World," punctuates references to the specific temptations that await the innocent visitor.

See also: Chicago Crime Commission

WCTU Temperance Parade, September 26, 1908


In 1908 the Cook County Woman's Christian Temperance Union organized a "dry" parade in Chicago that drew 6,000 marchers, according to the Chicago Record Herald. Under the campaign slogan "Let Illinois Go Dry," union leaders hoped to gain public support for the state's new local option law. A year after passage, the legislation had stimulated many downstate communities to prohibit the sale of liquor but found little support in Chicago's precincts.

See also: Prohibition and Temperance

Carter Harrison Campaign Poster, 1911


Carter Harrison II, like his more famous father, served five two-year terms as mayor of Chicago, from 1897 to 1905, and then from 1911 to 1915. Historian Edward Kantowicz calls Harrison a "reform boss" for his combination of machine election politics and a reform agenda.

See also: Mayors