The City Logical

Chicagoans often attribute much of what's right about our city's infrastructure to Daniel Burnham and his 1909 Plan of Chicago (co-written with Edward Bennett). But Burnham's plans for the "City Beautiful" are largely unrealized, more a gesture or an ideal than an everyday reality, and much more focused on the monumental downtown and lakefront than to the patchwork of our city of neighborhoods. This seminar will examine the work of a much lesser-known Chicagoan, Edward Brennan, the man who convinced Chicago's political and business powers-that-be to regularize street names and the house numbering system. Brennan's plan created what I call the "City Logical," starting in 1908. This seminar will engage with primary documents from his campaign to make the city's grid reasonable and intelligible, as well as with exceptions to the general pattern of the grid which teach us lessons about Chicago history.