City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago's Environmental History

City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago's Environmental History


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Known as the Windy City and the Hog Butcher to the World, Chicago has earned a more apt sobriquet—City of Lake and Prairie—with this compelling, innovative, and deeply researched environmental history.  Sitting at the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world, and on the eastern edge of the tallgrass prairies that fill much of the North American interior, early residents in the land that Chicago now occupies enjoyed natural advantages, economic opportunities, and global connections over centuries, from the Native Americans who first inhabited the region to the urban dwellers who built a metropolis in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As one millennium ended and a new one began, these same features sparked a distinctive Midwestern environmentalism aimed at preserving local ecosystems. Drawing on its contributors’ interdisciplinary talents, this volume reveals a rich but often troubled landscape shaped by communities of color, workers, and activists as well as complex human relations with industry, waterways, animals, and disease.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822946311
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Series: Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 1,222,151
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

William C. Barnett is associate professor and chair of the History Department at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
Ann Durkin Keating is Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
Kathleen Brosnan is the Paul and Doris Eaton Travis Chair of Modern American History at the University of Oklahoma.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction William C. Barnett 3

Part I Where Prairie Meets Lake 15

1 Native peoples in the Tallgrass prairies of Illinois Robert Morrissey 17

2 Cholera and the Evolution of Early Chicago Ann Durkin Keating Kathleen A. Brosnan 26

3 Animals at Work in Industrializing Chicago Katherine Macica 38

Part II A Freshwater City 49

4 An Inland Sea? Coming to Terms with Lake Michigan in Nineteenth-Century Chicago Theodore J. Karamanski 51

5 Cleansing Chicago: Environmental Control and the Reversal of The Chicago River Matthew Corpolongo 64

6 Too Much Water: Coping with Climate Change and Suburban Sprawl in a Flood-Prone Environment Harold L. Platt 78

7 Water, Oil, and Fish: The Chicago River as a Technological Matrix of Place Daniel Macfarlane Lynne Heasley 91

Part III The Mature of Working-Class Chicagoans 108

8 May Day: The Green Vision of Chicago's Gilded Age Anarchists Colin Fisher 110

9 Black Migrant Foodways in the "Hog Butcher for the World" Brian McCammack 125

10 "No Cheerful Patches of Green": Mexican Community and the Industrial Environment on the Far Southeast Side of Chicago Michael Innis-Jiménez 137

11 Work Relief Labor in the Cook County Forest Preserves, 1931-1942 Natalie Bump Vena 150

A Cartographic Interlude 165

12 Maps and Chicago's Environmental History Peter Nekola James R. Akerman 175

Part IV Managing (Or Not) Urban-Industrial Complexity 189

13 Blood on the Tracks: Accidental Death and the Built Environment Joshua A. T. Salzmann 191

14 Air and Water Pollution in the Urban-Industrial Nexus: Chicago, 1840s-1970s Steven H. Corey 203

15 Chicago's Wastelands: Refuse Disposal and Urban Growth, 1840-1990 Craig E. Colten 221

16 Mrs. Block Beautiful: African American Women and the Birth of the Urban Conservation Movement in Chicago, 1917-1954 Sylvia Hood Washington 240

Part V Reenvisioning the Lake and Prairie 254

17 May Theilgaard Watts and the Origins of the Illinois Prairie Path William C. Barnett 256

18 "Hard-Nosed Professionals": Gordon Sherman, Businessmen for the Public Interest, and Environmentalism in 1970s Chicago Robert Gioielli 269

19 The Calumet Region: A Line in the Sand Mark Bouman 286

Notes 301

Contributors 383

Index 385

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