Friday, January 28, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

From Horses to Cars: Chicago in 1894 and 1923

One Chicago block in 1893. Yellow designates stables for horses.

In the process of cleaning up and organizing things during our move, I came across some material from a grad school paper I wrote for a historical geography class examining the physical transformation of a micro-neighborhood in Chicago as automobiles replaced horses as the dominant mode of urban transportation. I used Sanborn fire insurance maps to locate buildings designated as stables in 1894 and automobile garages in 1923.

Zooming in to just one block of the micro-neighborhood reveals the extent of the transformation (note that May Street became Mildred Avenue by 1923). There were only 7 horse stables in the block in 1894, but there were 22 automobile garages in 1923. Click for a larger version of each map to make out the highlighted portions.
The same Chicago block in 1923. Yellow designates automobile garages.

If I had the paper to do over again, I would add a comparative census analysis to determine whether the neighborhood had gentrified during this period. In other words, were the people with comparatively few horses in 1894 the same people who had so many cars in 1923? My guess is no.

Anyway, interesting stuff, thought it was worth sharing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lovely Vintage Miele Bike

Spotted on our local Craigslist. The ad says mid-1940s, and I wouldn't be surprised. Just gorgeous. Outside of my budget, though.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Afternoon Light

{click to embiggen}

I had my bike sitting in the living room this afternoon while I was working and happened to look up and see the late afternoon sunlight falling on it. It looked nice, so I took a photo. The black thing looped through my saddle rails is a length of chain wrapped in an old inner tube, which runs under the seat stays and secures the saddle to the frame. Makes it a little harder to steal the saddle off the bike.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Still in the Wrapper

Took a ride down to Chula Vista today on a portion of the Bayshore Bikeway. On the near side of the bay it mostly goes through an industrial area. I always see something here that creeps me out. The first time was a marching band standing on a deserted sidewalk playing for nobody. This time it was these new cars (Audis maybe?) all wrapped up in these covers. There were hundreds probably, both on and off of trucks. I don't know why, but they seemed really sinister.