A Selection of some the Coolest Chicago Maps

Posted on September 19, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

Here's a collection of what I think are some of the coolest maps of Chicago I've ever seen. One of the things I love about the city is just the way it was planned and has a beautiful, orderly pattern of streets that radiates out from a core, right where the seeds of the city were first planted. It's on view from the beginning, in the early maps. Later cartographers and artists took liberties in presenting the cityscape in different ways, highlighting certain elements like new transit lines, parks and boulevards, and modern aerial views.

NOTE 2: If you want a closer view of these maps, right-click on the image and select "Open image in new tab." That will allow you to get an expandable view of the image and a better look at the details.

Chicago Maps: Early Settlement. pre-1800-1833

early chicago settlement map

Imaginary view of Chicago in 1779. A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, vol. 1 (Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884), frontispiece. Source

early chicago birds eye settlement view

Chicago in 1820. Chicago Lithographing Company, 1867. Chromolithograph on paper. Library of Congress. Image source

early chicago map

Map of Chicago in 1812. Image source

early chicago map 1830

"Map of Chicago, Incorporated as a Town August 5, 1833." Walter Conley & O.E. Stelzer, 1933. Image source

early chicago map streets

 The original 1830 subdivision by the Illinois and Michigan Canal Commissioners. Image source.

Chicago Maps: Growth and Industrialization until the Fire. 1857-1871

vintage chicago map

Chicago In Early Days. 1779-1857. Kurz & Allison, 1893. Source.  


chicago vintage map

Lithograph by Christian Inger, based on a drawing by J.T. Palmatary. Published by Braunhold & Sonne. 1857. Source

chicago early map

Chicago, Chicago Lithographing Co., 1868. Image source

chicago birds eye map

Currier & Ives.; published in Harper's Weekly (1 August 1874) Image source

chicago fire map

Richard’s Illustrated and Statistical Map of the Great Conflagration in Chicago. 1871. Image source

Chicago Maps: Post-Fire. 1874-1893

chicago birds eye

The City of Chicago / sketched & drawn on stone by Parsons & Atwater. Currier & Ives, publisher. 1874. Image source

chicago map

Guide map of new Chicago and suburbs. Author Stine & Clark,1889. Source.

chicago view

"Bird's eye view of Chicago, 1892." Roy, Peter. Image source.

chicago vintage map

"1893 Grand View of Chicago." Treutlein, Th. Eagle Lithographing Co. Reynertson & Beckerman, 1893, c1892. Image source.

chicago worlds fair view illustration

"Bird's eye view of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893." Rand McNally and Company. Image source.

chicago birds eye map

Library of Congress illustration of the official birdseye view of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois in 1892. Image source.

Chicago Maps: Into the 20th Century. 1898-1916

chicago birds eye vintage

Bird's-eye-view of the business district of Chicago. Poole Brothers, c1898. Image source. 

chicago rail map vintage


plan of chicago 1909

chicago vintage map

chicago birds eye map

Chicago Maps: Post-Depression into mid-Century. 1930-1958

chicago annexation map

chicago aerial 1930s map

chicago gangland map

chicago birds eye map

chicago map

chicago ethnic map

chicago vintage rapid transit map

chicago aerial view

Chicago Maps: Modern Interpretations

chicago hyde park panorama map

chicago super mario map


chicago map

chicago map

chicago map

Other links:


Art Shows: Places I've Been, Places I'll Be in 2018

Posted on June 18, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

These are the shows so far confirmed. Stop by! Say hello! Give me some constructive criticism!

Show of Hands.
MAY 4-6. Architectural Artifacts (Ravenswood)

Renegade Craft Fair (Spring).
MAY 12-13. Halsted St (Pilsen)

57th Street Art Fair.
JUNE 2-3. Kimbark & 57th (Hyde Park)

Printers Row Lit Fest.
JUNE 9-10. Dearborn & Harrison (Printer's Row)

Gold Coast Art Fair.
JUNE 16-17. Grant Park. Just North of Buckingham Fountain.

Southport Art Festival.
JULY 14-15. Southport & Waveland (Southport Corridor)

Bucktown Arts Fest.
AUG 25-26. Holstein Park area (Bucktown)

Renegade Craft Fair (Fall).
SEP 8-9. Division & Damen (Ukrainian Village)

Ravenswood Artwalk. 
SEPT 15-16. Venue: Beyond Design. (Ravenswood)

Show of Hands (Holiday).
NOV 16-18. Architectural Artifacts (Ravenswood)

Renegade Craft Fair (Holiday)
DEC 1-2. Bridgeport Art Center (Bridgeport)

The One of a Kind Show (Holiday).  
DEC 6-9. Merchandise Mart (River North)

    Chicago Lakefront Maps: The Kickstarter!

    Posted on April 23, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    I'm happy to announce a Kickstarter to create print editions of two new illustrated map editions.

    These maps are two distinct, illustrated bird's eye views / panoramas that celebrate Chicago's beautiful lakefront. One is a view eastward, focusing on the details and sites along the lakeshore, and one is the view westward, a color edition of the (recently sold-out) "Lakefront Currents."

    Just click here or the image preview below to visit the Kickstarter page and pledge your support. I greatly appreciate it! 

    123 Sesame Street

    Posted on March 22, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    Illustration of 123 Sesame Street at dusk. THE house of Sesame Street. There's a lot I'm learning. Bert and Ernie live in the garden unit. Elmo lives alone on the ground floor, the human family (who also own the place) on the second, Big Bird in the courtyard next door, and Oscar of course in the can out front. Bert kept a pigeon coop on the roof. I also never appreciated the house itself. Italianate, mid-1800s brownstone, based on those fantastic New York City row homes. 

    Will create a limited edition giclée print of this. Contact me and let me know if you are interested.

    Sesame Street house


    "Chicago to Chicagoans." My Tribute to Saul Steinberg's Famous New Yorker cover

    Posted on January 31, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    chicago to chicagoans map

    The Iconic Chicago Hot Dog Stand

    Posted on January 21, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    I made this little illustration of one of the little wonders of the city: The iconic Chicago hot dog stand. Love these spots. Here's my piece. And below the drawing, all the must-haves for any truly authentic Chicago hot dog joint.

    Chicago hot dog stand

    1. Painted in super-bright colors. By that I mean red and yellow. Picnic table & an umbrella that matches the building.

    2. Called Sammy’s, Marty’s, Charlie's. A name that sounds like someone your grandpa would have a coffee with.

    3. Proudly World Famous, Original, Founded circa 1954 or some combination in a fifties-era font.

    4. Some relics of the good old days that actually date back to the good old days. For a few examples: a newspaper dispenser, pinball, gumball machine.

    5. Some hints of their old logo or old name, maybe on a second sign or inside.

    6. On the front of the building, everything on their menu painted in big letters.

    7. Inside, a menu with replaceable letters and very bare-bones descriptions, like "Hot Dog -  $3."
    8. Vienna Beef logos. Bonus: The Vienna Beef poster with the gigantic hot dog on Navy Pier.

    9. Two line cooks with their heads down, working like crazy, radio turned up.

    10. Amazing meats and fries, unbelievable cheap, incredibly fast.

    Art in "The Big Sick"

    Posted on January 05, 2018 by Phillip Thompson | 0 comments

    If you've got an eagle eye you might have seen my work in a few places on screen.

    One that I was happy about was getting an art appearance "The Big Sick." Great movie, a surprise box office success. I've always been a fan of the Director, Michael Showalter, and I'd loved Kumail in Silicon Valley and his podcast appearances with Pete Holmes.

    I have three pieces on the screen in The Big Sick. Two are "Memento Mori" pen and ink drawings (which I've posted on my Instagram account), and the third is the ink drawing of the Chicago two-flats.

    The most visible and the one people have seemed to recognize most is "Siblings: The Chicago Two-Flats," which was actually the drawing I did to kick off this whole illustration venture. Here's that one in this scene with Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, and Kumail. What's been amazing to me is the number of people who have seen the movie and noticed my work in it, then got in reached out to me. I never realized people checked out the set art, and wasn't sure I did that--but cool to see that people do!



    The link to view and purchase that print: click on the image above or here

    You can also find my work in the Netflix series "Easy" (See image below. That's the "Taxonomy of Local Homes") and the movie "The Pact," which will come out next year. If you see my work anywhere else, let me know. I'd love to know where Cape Horn Illustration is in the world.

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