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1867 Blanchard / Shober View of Wolf's Point, Chicago, in 1833

Wolf's Point in 1833. - Main View

1867 Blanchard / Shober View of Wolf's Point, Chicago, in 1833


View of Chicago in the year of its founding!


Wolf's Point in 1833.
  1867 (dated)     17 x 19.5 in (43.18 x 49.53 cm)


This is a rare 1867 view of Wolf's Point, Chicago, as it appeared near sunset on a summer day in 1833, the year of Chicago's founding. Located at the confluence of the North, South and Main Branches of the Chicago River, Wolf's Point is the earliest site of major development in Chicago, where the city's first shops, taverns, hotels, and theaters were located. Here, Wolf Point Tavern appears on the left, at the time under the management of William Walters (1833 – 1836), with its famous 'wolf' flag. On the opposite bank of here river, a two-story building and adjoining log cabin, possibly represent Miller’s Tavern and store. In the background a simple plank bridge crosses the Chicago River. The foreground reveals a grassy riverside, on which men and women fish, picnic, and generally frolic. Although issued just 34 years after the founding of Chicago, this view already paints the city's early days in the warm tones of nostalgia.
Wolf's Point
The term 'Wolf's Point' is derived from the name of a Potawatomi chief living near the point, 'Moahway' which translates to 'The Wolf.' Today Wolf's Point is at the center of Chicago business and banking district. Where these lonesome taverns once stood, there are now soaring high rises (Wolf's Point Towers) and glittering modern development. The earliest non-indigenous settler at Wolf Point was a fur trader named simply 'Gaurie', who set up a cabin and trading post as early as the late 18th century. In 1828, James Kinzie built the tavern appearing here with the 'Wolf' flag, what eventually became known as the Wolf Point Tavern or Wolf Tavern. A year later, in 1829, Samuel Miller built another store, tannery, and tavern on the north bank of the river - Miller's Tavern appearing here at right. Other development followed and Wolf's Point became the center of Chicago's rapid expansion and development. By the time this view was made, in 1867, Wolf's Point had been completely developed with large multi-story residential buildings, iron bridges, and docks.
Publication History and Census
This view is based upon a painting by Chicago artist George Davis. It was lithographed by Charles Shober and published by Rufus Blanchard - both of Chicago. There is only one edition, but the image was used later by Blanchard and other to produce different views.


Rufus Blanchard Evanston (March 7, 1821 - January 3, 1904) was an American photographer, mapmaker, publisher, viewmaker, bookseller, and publisher active in Chicago in the second half of the 19th century. Blanchard was born in Lyndeborough, New Hampshire. He studied at Ipswich Academy showing proficiency in Latin and Mathematics. He relocated to New York in 1835 to live with this brother, Calvin Blanchard, who ran a book store at 78 Nassau St. He was present for both the New York Fire of 1835 and the Wall Street bank panic of 1836. Perhaps deciding the civilization was doomed, he moved to the backwoods of Ohio where he spent three years, bushwhacking, hunting, and trapping. Returning to New York in 1840, Blanchard took work with the Harper Brothers publishing house. The publishing business suited Blanchard, leading to his relocation to Lowell, Massachusetts in 1843 to open a bookshop. This business lasted just 3 years before the restless young man moved again, this time to Cincinnati, who he established another shop in connection with his brother Edwin Blanchard. Meeting some success here, he established an annex office in New Orleans. The Cholera epidemic of 1847-1848, followed by the great fire of St. Louis, unfortunately, devastated his interests in the region. He moved back to New York in 1849, briefly establishing a printing concern with Charles Morse, son of the famous inventor, and working with the J. H. Colton firm. He relocated to Chicago sometime before 1853, when he established in that city as a printer and publisher. He relocated his business to the railroad hub of Chicago (52 LaSalle Street) in 1854 to capitalize on the national need for good railroad maps. In 1857, he published Chicago's first street guide. In addition to his Chicago business, he also had an office in Wheaton, Illinois. His nephew, George Cram (1842 - 1928) joined his business in 1867, after being discharged from the Union Army, and they rebranded as 'Blanchard and Cram.' Both 'Blanchard and Cram' of Chicago and the Wheaton businesses were destroyed in 1871 - the main business by the Great Chicago Fire, and the Wheaton office, in a smaller fire. Nonetheless, Blanchard persevered, rebuilding both enterprises, although without Cram, who established his own firm, the George F. Cram and Company. In 1885 his business was again destroyed by fire, wherein he lost much of his map stock, but he again persevered and rebuilt. Blanchard's personal life was a notable for highs and lows as his business life. He first married in 1856, to Permilla Far (1829 - 1857). On their honeymoon, Permilla was severely injured, dying shortly thereafter, in 1857, from related complications. He remarried in 1858 to Anna E. Hall (1842 - 1925). Blanchard lived to 83, and during the entire time, continued to actively photograph, write, and publish. It is said that he 'never grew old in heart or brain.' Learn More...

Charles Shober (February 1831 - c. 1900) was a German-American lithographer and painter. Shober was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1854. He established himself in Philadelphia, at 17 Minor Street, where fellow lithographers and map engravers George Worley and Benjamin Mathias, also worked. His first lithograph in America appeared in an 1855 issue of The Horticulturist. In 1857, he partnered with Charles Reen to establish 'Reen and Shober' at 5 South Sixth Street, Philadelphia. The partners relocated their business to Chicago (106 Lake Street) in 1859. Reen left the firm in 1859 and Charles took a new partner, August Roth, printing under the imprint of 'Charles Shober'. They met with considerable success, until 1871, when like many Chicago businesses, the Great Fire laid them low. After the fire, he took over management and partial ownership of the Chicago Lithographic Company, which had been founded some years earlier by Louis Kurtz and Edward Carqueville. Kurtz's interest in the firm was acquired by Shober and it was renamed 'Charles Shober and Company'. Sometime after 1876, the firm's name changed to 'Shober Lithograph Company', and then in 1877, to 'Shober and Carqueville Lithograph Company'. Despite infighting, the firm prospered, printing views, posters, maps, trade cards, and sheet music. In 1887, after a prolonged dispute with Carqueville, Shober left the firm. He traveled briefly then took a position as president of the Chicago Bank Note Company. Shober's son died in a tragic suicide in 1896, after which, Shober seems to have vanished from professional life. He appears in the Chicago directory as late as 1900. Learn More...


Good. Minor repaired tear, upper margin.


Library of Congress, PGA - Shober, Chas.--Wolf's Point in 1833 (B size) [P and P]. Deak, Gloria Gilda, Picturing America: 1497-1899, 419.