Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Map of the Week - City of Vice

Those of you regular readers know that I attended the "Maps, Finding our Place in the World" exhibition that came to Chicago and then to Baltimore last year. I bought the companion book from this exhibit and have been slowly reading it.
This map (from William T. Stead, "If Christ Came to Chicago!", 1894) shows the "sites of moral depravity and turpitude" within Chicago's Nineteenth Ward, First Precinct. According to the book the map "worked to tame the anxieties about social dysfunction held by the same people, by isolating each dysfunction, comprehending it, and so enabling it to be corrected and eliminated." The map shows brothels, pawn brokers, saloons and lodging houses in addition to "legitimate" businesses. Because of the gridded nature of Chicago's streets and the almost exactly identical areas of the properties, the map looks and functions almost like a graph. A more complete description of the map can be found here.

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

If I remember my New Testament right, Christ mostly hung out with prostitutes, pawn brokers, and outcasts in general. So this would be, like, a map of where you might find him if you knew he was in Chicago and wanted to get an autograph or a blessing or whatever.