"...the great and gloomy inland metropolis..."
In his 1914 memoir, A Son of the Middle Border, Hamlin Garland describes his first entry from rural Wisconsin into Chicago, on the train.
I perceived from the car window a huge smoke-cloud which embraced the whole eastern horizon, for this, I was told, was the soaring banner of the great and gloomy inland metropolis, whose dens of vice and houses of greed had been so often reported to me by wandering hired men.
Ouch. I'm guessing he was never hired by the Chicago tourism board. Carl S. Smith quotes this passage in Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920, in an interesting section devoted to the initial reactions (whether actual or fictionalized) of writers to seeing the city for the first time from an incoming train. Those reactions seem to be neatly divided between horror (like Garland) and an optimistic sense of adventure and opportunity (like Theodore Dreiser).