Chicago in 1868 from Schiller Street North Side to 12th Street South Side


This panoramic map shows Chicago, Illinois, as it appeared in 1868, from Schiller Street on the north side of town to 12th Street on the south side. Numerous large sailing vessels, ships, and steamboats are on Lake Michigan in the foreground. Vessels also can be seen along the branches of the Chicago River, which runs through the city. Multiple trains travel in different directions on railroad lines, including several on tracks built over a portion of the water on Lake Michigan. The city is dense, with many large buildings and industrial buildings, particularly near the main stem of the Chicago River leading to Lake Michigan. The steeples of numerous houses of worship can be seen throughout the city. A caption at the bottom of the map reads: “The city extends beyond the section line of 12th street given here yet a distance of 3 miles to Egan Avenue (City Limits) on the South Side and a distance of 1 ¼ mile beyond Schiller Street to Fullerton Avenue on the North Side. The entire length of the city from North to South being 7 miles and breadth from East to West 3 ½ miles.” An inset image at the bottom center of the map shows Chicago as it appeared in 1820, providing perspective on the growth the city had experienced by 1868. In the 1820 image, several American Indian teepees are seen at the mouth of the Chicago River. Only a few buildings are visible, while a few small boats—rowboats or canoes—are seen on Lake Michigan. The panoramic map was a cartographic form popularly used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also known as bird's-eye views or perspective maps, these maps are representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective. This map is by Albert Ruger (1829–99), the first American to achieve success as a panoramic artist. Born in Prussia, Ruger immigrated to the United States and worked initially as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites. After the war, Ruger settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he began his panoramic mapping career by sketching Michigan cities. In the late 1860s, Ruger formed a partnership with J.J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, and together they published numerous city panoramas.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Chicago Lithographing Company, Chicago


Title in Original Language

Chicago in 1868 from Schiller Street north side to 12th Street south side

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 50 x 90 centimeters

Last updated: March 30, 2016