Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Rich Map : Prairie Avenue
Worlds of Prairie Avenue (Essay)  |  Prairie Avenue Elite in 1886 (Map)  |  Prairie Avenue Gallery  |  Neighborhood Change, 1853-2003 (Essay)  |  Prairie Avenue, 1853-2003 (Map)
Rich Map
Prarie Avenue
Prairie Avenue Gallery
Working on Prairie Avenue
Town Building
The Reach of Prairie Avenue Businesses
Prairie Avenue Politics
Homes Away From Home
Prairie Ave Gallery : Homes Away From Home

Mary Dent, A Chicago Girl's Trip to Europe, 1911

Mary Dent, daughter of prominent Chicago attorney Thomas Dent and his wife Susan, participated in many of the activities common to her counterparts on Prairie Avenue and in other late nineteenth-century elite Chicago neighborhoods, despite her ill health. Included in these activities were trips to Europe. In 1881, she left Chicago for another European trip that was meant to provide both cultural enrichment and a healthy respite from her life in Chicago. These letters, published in 1911 by her parents, capture a sense of her excitement about the trip. Unfortunately, Mary Dent's health worsened and she died before returning home.

See also: Global Chicago

John L. Shortall's Letter to His Daughters, 1895

In April 1895, John L. Shortall sent this illustrated letter to his five and three year old daughters Katherine and Helen who had been taken to visit friends in south central Michigan. Accompanying the children was the family's nurse, Frances Meseroll. Shortall's illustrations captured the sights familiar to travelers on the approximately 170-mile ride on the Michigan Central Railroad: stands of trees, farm animals, windmills, and, for those able to afford the luxury accommodations, the Pullman porter.

See also: Agriculture; Domestic Work and Workers

"Unions Stir Lake Geneva," Chicago Tribune, 1903

For the Chicago elites who owned homes there, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, provided a respite from the harried lives they experienced in the city. Especially after the Great Fire of 1871, so many well-to-do Chicagoans began building magnificent homes along the lake that Lake Geneva came to be known as "The Newport of the West." Not even families bearing names like Seipp, Bartlett, Allerton, Swift, Ward, Pinkerton, Smyth, and Leiter could avoid the contentious issues of the day as this Tribune article from May 1903 attests.

See also: Chicago's World—Within a Day's Travel; Metropolitan Growth