National Geographic : 1919 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph of drawing by Kaufmann &Fabry Co. OLD FORT DEARBORN, WITH SURROUNDINGS, IN 1856: CHICAGO one who discovered its site. He looked down through the years and saw in the vista of the future a world-city, while they built only for their day and time. So Chicago, like Topsy, "jes' growed"; and instead of being one great, well planned, carefully laid out city, for a long time it was only a series of loose jointed villages, in none of which was any effort made to anticipate the future, and in all of which the people had too many concerns of the moment to give thought to those of years ahead. A RING OF WATER AND A LOOP OF STEEL The result was that Chicago grew up hampered and crowded. The Chicago River, as reversed by the drainage canal, elbows its way through the city, flowing west for some nine blocks, and then south and southeast for many more, before finally turning westward again. Thus the river drew a fluid line around two sides of the business district, while the lake confined it on a third side and the rail roads dammed it back on the fourth. As if this were not enough, the ele- vated railways supplemented the ring of water with a loop of steel, and presently the great metropolis found itself with residential districts as wide as the prairies, but with a business district so cramped and so much a menace to the city's future growth and prosperity that there arose a universal cry for relief from the conditions that threatened the strangulation of its development. That cry brought its answer in the shape of what is at once one of the most ambitious and yet the most conservative city plan ever worked out. That plan takes cognizance alike of the immediate needs and the future requirements of the city. It is laid out in units suited to the necessities of the hour and the financial abilities of the moment; at the same time it has been so developed that each com pleted unit is a step toward the ideal urban community, and the sum of them a symmetrical development that will pro vide for double the present population and, it is hoped, afford proper founda tions for the expansions of a century.