Lots for sale, 1860
So cool. The top image is an 1860 real estate company advertisement for industrial lots on the South Branch of the Chicago River. The six canals (Stetson's, Sampson's, Throop's, Allen's, Mason's and Joy's) were carved into the river bank to expand waterfront access and, of course, to boost the value of the lots. Looking at the current satellite image, four canals remain (the westernmost canal in the photo apparently post-dates the ad), with the others at some point having been filled back in, likely due to the subsequent decline in river freight traffic. The easternmost streets have been renamed, as has the east-west street at the top, which then was called South Street but is now Cermak Road (22nd Street). Also, the meandering street just north of the river (Lumber Street) no longer exists between Ashland and Halsted, other than a short diagonal portion that runs west from Halsted. Not surprisingly, given the name of that street, this area was once the center of Chicago's vast wholesale lumber industry.