History of the World in 2 Minutes

It's a final project by a high school student. 

Chicago Address System

Unveiling the honorary street designation of the corner of State and Madison as Edward Brennan Way. - Chicago Tribune

A form of MapQuest back in the day

August 25, 2013|By Patrick T. Reardon
  • Edward Brennan, the citizen whose efforts rationalized Chicago's streets. On Friday, August 30, State and Madison will be given the honorary designation as Edward Brennan Way. Brennan family photo from 1910. WARNING: There is a photo on the website of the Encyclopedia of Chicago that's purportedly of Brennan but, according to his daughter, is not Brennan. ..OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS, NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION...

Edward Paul Brennan was a nobody. One of us.
Born in 1866, he made deliveries for his father's grocery store, then worked downtown at the Lyon and Healy Co. music store as a bill collector and later as building superintendent.
Yet few individuals in Chicago's history have had as much impact — for the good — on the daily lives of Chicagoans, suburbanites and visitors to the city.
That's why, on Friday, a little before noon, a small ceremony will be held to officially unveil the honorary street designation of the corner of State and Madison as Edward Brennan Way. On hand will be Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, who sponsored the designation ordinance, and Brennan's daughter, Adelaide, who will turn 99 that day.
No intersection is more central to the identity of Chicago as State and Madison, and it's an apt location to honor Brennan since he's the one who gave the corner its prominence.
In the summer of 1901 when he turned 35, Brennan took an armload of maps with him on vacation to Paw Paw, Mich., and came back, like a prophet from the desert, with a detailed plan for helping people find their way in what was then a very chaotic Chicago.
How chaotic?
Well, because of wildfire annexations of neighboring villages and towns in the 1890s, Chicago had boomed in land, population — and confusion.
There were three different systems for numbering homes and businesses — one for the North Side (north of the main branch of the Chicago River and east of the river's north branch), one for the South Side (south of the main branch and east of the south branch) and one for the West Side (west of the north and south branches).
Then there was the duplication of street names. Chicago, in 1901, had nine Sheridan streets, nine Forest streets, 10 Oak streets, 13 Washington streets, 13 Center streets and 14 Park streets.
And, to further muddy the waters, there were what Brennan called "broken link" streets. These were streets that, because of Chicago's grid, went from one end of the city to the other, but were interrupted at various points. Such a street, often, would have one name on one side of the interruption and another on the other side.
For instance, depending on where you were in the city, the street just west of Halsted was called Lime Street, Reta Avenue, Craft Street, Newberry Avenue, Florence Avenue, Dayton Street or Green Street.
So Brennan — no expert, just a do-gooder — drafted his plan, summarized it in a letter to the Chicago Record-Herald and then, with the help of his second cousin, Charles Byrne, a reform alderman, submitted his detailed proposal to the City Council.
That plan called for:
•Rationalizing the numbering system by centering all addresses on State and Madison.
•Giving 1,000 numbers for each mile. (Before adoption by the council, this was changed to 800 numbers per mile. Thus, Pulaski Road at 4000 west is 1 mile east of Cicero Avenue at 4800 west.)
•Giving odd numbers to the east side of north-south streets and to the south side of east-west streets. And even numbers to the opposite sides of the street.
•Abolishing all duplicate names.
•Giving broken-link streets a single name.
•Using street names beginning with the same letter to designate north-south streets within the same mile as an indication of how far west they are of State Street. (That's why, for instance, most of the streets between Pulaski and Cicero begin with a "K." And then there are the "L" streets, and then the "M" streets, and so on.)
After years of debate, the council approved Brennan's numbering system in 1908, and it went into effect in 1909, everywhere except in the Loop. It worked so well, though, that, five years later, the Loop addresses were reoriented to State and Madison.
Patrick T. Reardon, a former scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library, is researching two books about Chicago. He will speak at the dedication ceremony Friday.

Click to read the full article in the Tribune


Long Lost relative of MPHS Alumni Nan Brennan Honored


This was fascinating -- I had no idea. And you might as well claim him as kin because at some juncture on the old sod he probably was. Also anybody who might be able to contradict you is dead.

I hope you sent this to Craig Hullinger. It's the kind of thing he likes to put on his many blogs.

~Taffy Cannon


Very interesting. I did not know this story.

In 1972 I drove an ambulance from Chicago Heights. The lack of a competent address system was very frustrating. You would be driving to a location described as the third house past the oak tree past the red barn on Locust Street.  We would often be lost with our sirens on asking people for directions.

In 1975 the addressing system in Will County was also chaotic.  Will County is the county just south of Cook and DuPage Counties, extending from Indiana to west of Joliet and to Aurora. It includes parts of Park Forest, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Lemont, Plainfield, Bolingbrook and Naperville.

The State of Illinois created a program where they would pay for the readdressing of the County. They wanted a metric system starting in the southwest corner of the county and working north and east.

This was of course silly for Will County. We would have ended up with our largest address numbers against Cook and DuPage County.

I was working as a planner for Will County and we decided to work on improving the address system. We considered seven different plans for rationally addressing the County. One was the State plan, one would start with the center streets of the County seat, Joliet, one was the Chicago address system, and one was the DuPage County system which was built from the Chicago system but strangely configured to reduce the system to a shorthand of the Chicago system.


I preferred the Chicago system. People in Chicago and Cook County understood it and it was in place in a few communities like Mokena. Most of commerce was with Cook County and using the same system they were familiar with made sense to me. 

My boss was from DuPage County and recommended the DuPage County system. And that is what the County decided on.

And then my boss departed and I became County Planning Director. And I convinced the County to adopt the Chicago system.

We slowly and laboriously changed the entire County over to the system. Each town of course had the right to retain their current system or adopt the County / Chicago system.

So it still a bit confusing but much more rational than before.

The advent of 911 and GIS computerized mapping and GPS made things much better. You can usually find addresses pretty quickly using your trusty GPS or phone. And ambulances can usually find their patients quickly.


Youth Homicide Rates by Race in the U.S.

By Alex B. Berezow

The George Zimmerman trial has refocused the national dialogue on race relations in America. Last week, President Barack Obama weighed in, saying, "African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system... they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence." Is he correct?
Yes. A new study released by the CDC provides data on homicide rates among American youth (aged 10-24) by race/ethnicity. (See graph.)

Before analyzing this graph, it is worth noting that homicide disproportionately affects American youths. Murder is usually a top 3 leading cause of death in youths, but it is not in the top 10 for the American population as a whole. Specifically, the youth homicide rate in 2010 was 7.5 per 100,000, while thehomicide rate for the entire population was 5.3 per 100,000.
There is also a huge disparity in the youth homicide rate (per 100,000) between races in 2010:
Blacks: 28.8
Hispanics: 7.9
Whites: 2.1


Birds Eye Views of Cities

Chicago, Ill.

Chicago, Ill.
Photo by Sergey Semerov

1. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

2. New York City, N.Y.

New York City, N.Y.
Sergey Semenov

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Google Earth

4. Paris, France

Paris, France
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

6. Nördlingen, Germany

Nördlingen, Germany


The City of Peoria is Looking for a Few Good Developers

I have been busy helping the City of Peoria find developers for their
great new Warehouse District south of downtown.

The City offers: 

Historic tax credits of 45% of investment 

TIF incentives of up to 60% of new fair market value

No sales tax on building material

The new CAT Visitor Center and Museum is open. The Pere Marquette Hotel is rehabilitated and the new Marriott Courtyard hotel under construction. We are in the midst of major construction on attractive new urban streets. CAT is planning a new Corporate Headquarters. Tracy Cross projects demand for 194 dwelling units a year.

More scoop at peoriail.us

Contact me at craighullinger@gmail.com or 309 634 5557 for more info:

Great Maps

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

"If you're a visual learner like myself, then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that."

1. Where Google Street View is Available

Map by Google

2. Countries That Do Not Use the Metric System


3. The Only 22 Countries in the World Britain Has Not Invaded (not shown: Sao Tome and Principe)



Chicago - City of Broad Shoulders

I will be teaching a class about Chicago to people in Florida. Should be fun.

I have been collecting information that I think belongs in the course and putting the info on the blog below:

If you are interested I would appreciate your thoughts about information that I should include in the course.

If you have an idea please send it to craighullinger@gmail.com and I will include it on the course.

Thank you.


Interesting article from the City Notes blog   danielhertz.wordpress.com

We’ve Talked About Homicide In Chicago At Least One Million Times But I Don’t Think This Has Come Up

Here are two maps:
Hom90 hom20
1990-1993                                                                2008-2011
Like the captions say, the one on the left shows homicide rates by police district in the early 90s, when crime was at its peak in Chicago, and the one on the right shows the same thing, but about two decades later.* The areas in dark green are the safest; the ones in dark pink are the most dangerous. The colors are calibrated so that green areas are safer than average for the early 90s, and pink ones are more dangerous than average for the early 90s. The 2008-2011 map keeps the same calibration: green is safe compared to the early 90s, so that you can see change in the levels of violence over time.
And, indeed, the first thing that jumps out from these maps is that there’s way more green nowadays, and it tends to be darker. The city is way safer! Some areas we might consider a bit dicey today – like, say, the Lawndale/Little Village area – actually register as light green, meaning that by early 90s standards, they would be considered relatively safe.
[For those of you craving numbers, the murder rate averaged 30 per 100k during the first period, and 17 per 100k during the second, a decline of nearly 50%.]
Of course, the other thing we notice is that there are some very distinct patterns to safety. These maps are breaking exactly no news by indicating that the more dangerous parts of the city are on the West and South Sides, but it is striking, I think, to see that nowadays, basically the entire North Side is the darkest green, which translates to a homicide rate of less than 6 per 100k. In fact, the  dark-green part of the city has a murder rate of 3.3 per 100k.
Three point three. In New York City, which is constantly (and mostly correctly) being held up as proof that urban safety miracles can happen in America, it’s 6.3. Toronto, which as far as North American big cities go occupies a fairy tale land where no one hurts anybody, had a homicide rate of 3.3 per 100k as recently as 2007. The North Side is unbelievably safe, at least as far as murder goes.
But there are none of the darkest green on the West or South Sides. There’s actually a fair amount of pink, meaning places that are relatively dangerous even by the terrifying standards of the early 90s.
This raises a question: Has the great Crime Decline benefited the whole city equally? Are the South and West Sides still relatively dangerous because they started from such a bad place, or because they haven’t seen nearly as much of a decline as the North Side has?
Here is the answer in another map:
The areas in darkest green saw the greatest decline; red means the murder rate actually increased.

Click to read the article


Green Sculpture Park

The new Caterpillar Museum and Peoria Riverfront Museum creates a great attraction The addition of aGreen Sculpture Park on the Museum Campus and spreading to the Riverfront, Interstate, and Civic Center could greatly enhance the downtown. It would be the first and only Green Sculpture Park in the world and help bring people to Play in Peoria.

This proposal calls for the addition of green sculptures that would be artistic and “green”. Wind and solar energy and recycled materials would be incorporated into the design. They could also generate power for lighting in the downtown.

The City of Peoria has many quality sculptures in downtown. The City is increasing “Green” Technology and Sustainability. This Park would be an extension and major enhancement of  those efforts.
A program modeled on the Sioux Falls, South Dakota sculpturewalksiouxfalls.com could be used. Each year sculptures are mounted, kept in place for one year, and become a tourist attraction. After one year those sculptures are removed and new ones mounted in their place. The sculptures are for sale and people vote for their favorite.
The Civic Center could be a sponsor this event, with sculptures mounted in their green space. As the event grew it could cascade down Fulton and on to the Build the Block Campus buildtheblock.com. The sculptures would be a major tourist attraction. And they could be paid for with a mix of TIF Dollars and charitable gifts.

Major "green" sculptures would be erected to be a major entrance to the City at the River and Interstate. And they could provide a very attractive entrance to Build the Block and downtown Peoria.  


Build the Block - Congratulations

  1. Build the Block Looks Great. 

    Congratulations to everyone who 

    helped make it a reality

    Peoria Riverfront Museum

  2. Build the Block Camera

    BuildTheBlockCam.com provides a near, real-time view into the transformation of seven acres on the Peoria, Illinois riverfront.