Rising Out of the Fire
Elmer Whiting, a Chicago streetcar conductor, kept a detailed diary throughout 1894. That year Chicago still buzzed from the World’s Columbian Exposition, the world's fair held a year earlier. In these decades following the Chicago Fire of 1871, the city experienced great growth and transitions. Elmer’s diary is a window into that complex history.
A City in Motion
By the 1890s, Chicago had developed into a bustling “Middle West” metropolis. Elmer conducted his horse-drawn streetcar through busy streets shared with new cable cars and electric streetcars, buggies, cyclists, and pedestrians. This meeting of people, animals, and machines created new demands for efficiency, safety, and workers’ rights.
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