Panoramic View of the Route of the Aurora, Elgin, and Chicago Railroad. The Great Third-rail Double-track Electric Railroad connecting Chicago and the Fox River Valley.
17 x 22.75 in (43.18 x 57.785 cm)
A striking c. 1911 Rand McNally chromolithograph view of Chicago and lands west as far as Madison, Wisconsin. The view illustrates the routes and coverage of the 'Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railroad', Chicagoland's largest Pre-WWI interurban electric railroad, along with connecting interurban railways from Elgin west to Freeport and Madison.
Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin RailroadThe CAE, known colloquially as the 'Roarin' Elgin' or the 'Great Third Rail' was an electrified passenger railroad running between Chicago's Loop and suburban communities to the west as far as the Fox River Valley. Connections included Elmhurst, Wheaton, and the Fox River towns of Elgin, Batavia, and Aurora, among others. The company was founded in 1899 as several smaller companies consolidated around 1901. Service began in September of 1902, reaching its height, as seen here, in 1909-1910. The railroad was hit hard during World War I (1914 - 1918) and further suffered from the rise of the American automobile industry in the post-war years, leading to bankruptcy in 1919. They nonetheless were able to reorganize, shedding the Fox River Lines (running parallel to the river), and continuing to operate more lucrative urban and interurban services. But the decline continued. Within Chicago, CAE services were either replaced by or subsumed into the 'L' system. Service was discontinued entirely in 1957 and the CAE was dissolved in 1961.
ChromolithographyChromolithography is a color lithographic technique developed in the mid-19th century. The process involved using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, to yield a rich composite effect. Oftentimes, the process would start with a black basecoat upon which subsequent colors were layered. Some chromolithographs used 30 or more separate lithographic stones to achieve the desired product. Chromolithograph color could also be effectively blended for even more dramatic results. The process became extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it emerged as the dominate method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
Publication History and CensusThis view was first published by Rand McNally for the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railroad in 1909 for the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) meeting in Aurora, with a second edition that was likely published in 1910. The present example exhibits extensions from connecting interurban railroads in the upper left. The view is rare. We are aware of only 2 surviving examples from this series. This is the only known surviving example of this edition.
Rand, McNally and Co. (fl. 1856 - present) is an American publisher of maps, atlases and globes. The company was founded in 1856 when William H. Rand, a native of Quincy, Massachusetts, opened a print shop in Chicago. Rand hired the recent Irish immigrant Andrew McNally to assist in the shop giving him a wage of 9 USD per week. The duo landed several important contracts, including the Tribune's (later renamed the Chicago Tribune) printing operation. In 1872, Rand McNally produced its first map, a railroad guide, using a new cost effective printing technique known as wax process engraving. As Chicago developed as a railway hub, the Rand firm, now incorporated as Rand McNally, began producing a wide array of railroad maps and guides. Over time, the firm expanded into atlases, globes, educational material, and general literature. By embracing the wax engraving process, Rand McNally was able to dominate the map and atlas market, pushing more traditional American lithographic publishers like Colton, Johnson, and Mitchell out of business. Eventually Rand McNally opened an annex office in New York City headed by Caleb S. Hammond, whose name is today synonymous with maps and atlases, and who later started his own map company, C. S. Hammond & Co. Both firms remain in business. Learn More...
Average. Backed on archival tissue for stability. Exhibits wear along original fold lines and areas of infill. Text on verso.