“Why Not Visit Chicago”: Tour Companies and City Business Organizations, 1870–1915

Catherine Cocks

in Doing the Town

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780520227460
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926493 | DOI:
“Why Not Visit Chicago”: Tour Companies and City Business Organizations, 1870–1915

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This chapter discusses the startling juxtaposition of an American city, less than one hundred years old and notorious for its vulgar commercialism, to two of the great capitals of Europe, which marked an important change. When entering the nation's cities, well-to-do Americans necessarily confronted the tensions among their republican principles, their refined ideals, and the vigorous expansion of a market economy. Organized businessmen believed that their campaigns for city beautification and tourism would inspire civic spirit and social unity. The Chicago Association of Commerce published its guidebook “for the dual purpose of properly guiding and assisting in the entertainment of visitors to Chicago and to instruct Chicagoans themselves in subjects of civic interest.” Such knowledge would encourage a proper appreciation of the city was well as enable the locals to help tourists find and interpret the sights.

Keywords: American city; vulgar commercialism; republican principles; Association of Commerce; Chicago; civic interest

Chapter.  14845 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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