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Chicago, an Iconic American City: The Great Fire and the Burnham Plan

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ClassGraphic Chicago, incorporated in only 1833, was among the country's and the world's fastest growing cities at the end of the Civil War. A center of the U.S. meat-packing industry and a manufacturing and transportation hub, its population reached more than 333,000 by 1871. However, fate suddenly intervened when, in October 1871, nearly one-third of the city, including major portions of the downtown, was reduced to ashes and wreckage in one awful night and day. As a source for our discussion about Chicago's rebirth, we will use Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2020), an engrossing account of the fire and its aftermath by Northwestern Professor Carl Smith. In addition, we will read and discuss Smith's The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (University of Chicago Press, 2006). This resource will lead us in an analysis of the  famous 1909 document created at the behest of a group of Chicago civic leaders and how it remains the exemplar of urban planning today. We anticipate a personal visit by Professor Smith to discuss his books. We encourage all lovers of Chicago and urban enthusiasts to join us as we explore these critical moments of Chicago history.

Class Details

14 Session(s)
Weekly - Mon

500 Davis Center

MultipleInstructor :
1.Naomi Fisher2.Stephen Fisher 



Schedule Information

Skip dates: (No class on 05/29/2023)

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
3/6/2023 - 6/12/2023 Weekly - Mon 01:15 PM - 03:15 PM Evanston, 500 Davis Center  Map Stephen Fisher  ; Naomi Fisher 
/*NOV 14 2020*/