A SOCIAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN URBAN ARCHITECTURE
Prof. Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Loyola University Chicago
HIST 300, Sect. 202, Wednesday, 1:40-4:10 p.m., Lewis Towers 412
7:45-9:15 a.m., Mon., Fri. (511 Crown)
12-1:30 p.m., Wed. (900 LT)
Office Phone: (773) 508-2232
"God made the country and man made the town."
William Cowper, 1780
Buildings and bridges, streets and tunnels are the outstanding physical
artifacts of the city. They also represent the most intensive investment
of capital and economic resources in the complex urban societies of the
United States. Between 1850 and 1950, American urban communities were transformed
from "horizontal" cities of row houses, tenements and factories
to "vertical" cities of apartments and skyscrapers. During that
time and since, American developers and architects not only built the tallest
buildings, the longest bridges and the deepest tunnels in the world, but
those structures became symbolic icons of American culture. From New York's
Brooklyn Bridge to Chicago's Sears Tower, the bridge and the tower epitomized
the American contribution to engineering, art and architecture. This course
examines the emergence, growth and ongoing transformation of the American
metropolis by an intense "reading" the built, human-made urban
environment over time. Interdisciplinary approaches will examine physical
urban structures in the context of aesthetic and architectural theory, history,
economics, and social science. More broadly, the course attempts to comprehend
the physical city within the changing questions of what it means to be an
American. Why do American cities look the way they do? What is distinctive
about the built environment of American cities? How have Americans created
and adapted to that environment? Where do I fit in? Who am I? In the end,
students will better comprehend the built environment in which they live
The course requirements and their percentage of the final grade are: 1) two exams (25% each), 2) 10 page essay (30%), 3) participation and class discussion (20%). The exams will be based primarily on the readings below and secondarily on lectures and class discussions. Students will receive study sheets one week before each exam which will outline the questions and issues that will be included in each exam. Midterm exams and grades will be returned before 24 October 2003.
A primary responsibility of students is to complete the weekly reading before the date of the scheduled class and contribute their thoughtful, reflective opinions in class discussion. Students should allocate enough time to complete the required reading, approximately 100 pages per week. The readings can be interpreted in a variety of ways and students should formulate some initial positions and questions to offer in the class discussion. For every article or book, students should be prepared to answer all of the questions found in the "Critical Reading" section of the syllabus below. All required readings may be purchased at Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Lewis Towers.
Students who are disabled or impaired should meet with the professor within the first two weeks of the semester to discuss the need for any special arrangements.
The reading assignments for this course are:
Harold Mayer and Richard Wade, Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1969).
Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America (New York: Pantheon, 1981; paperback MIT Press).
Alan Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol, 2nd edition (Chicago:
Univ. of Chicago Press, 1965, 1979).
Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991).
Dolores Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981).
Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1985).
Ada Louise Huxtable, The Tall Building Artistically Reconsidered: The Search for a Skyscraper Style (New York: Pantheon, 1982).
Carol Willis, Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York and Chicago (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1995).
Students who attend class will receive lecture notes via Group Wise electronic mail at the end of every class. The notes serve as the "textbook" for class and eliminate the need to engage in frantic note-taking. Students can more carefully listen and contemplate the arguments and ideas discussed in each lecture. Students are encouraged to take some notes during class, especially if note-taking helps them to remain active and alert. Upon accessing the notes, students should transfer the notes to a disk and print a "hard" copy. To receive the notes, students must attend the class. No attendance, no notes.
Students will be able to view many of the images shown in class in the required texts and on the Internet. Recommended sites include:
The Skyscraper Museum (see
images on exhibits on Big Buildings and the construction of the Empire State
The World's Columbian
Exposition of 1893
Aug. 27: What is a City? The Colonial Origins and Economic Foundations of American Urban Architecture
Sept. 3 & 10: Housing on the Grid: From Row Houses to Apartments
Discussion on Sept. 10 of:
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 1-25, 34-40, 58-65, 142-47, 152-55, 224-29, 252-64, 307, 322-26, 364-67
Wright, Building the Dream, chaps 1-5, 7-8.
Hayden, Grand Domestic Revolution
Also 11 Sept. (rain date 18 Sept.) THE MIDNIGHT BIKERIDE Urban History in Chicago.
Sept. 17: Landscapes of Commerce: Factories and Department Stores
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 26-33, 41-57, 94-99, 103-127, 133- 37, 214-17, 220-25, 230-31,
Field trip to State Street.
Sept. 24: Parks and Recreation: The Emergence of Landscape Architecture
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 63-64, 100-102, 146-51, 265-68, 272-73, 285,
Bluestone, Constructing Chicago, chaps. 1-3.
Oct. 1: Slide presentation and tour of Millennium Park by Edward Uhlir, Project Director, Millennium Park, Inc.
Recommended: web sites on Millennium Park and Frank Gehry
The Talaske Group
City of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
Oct. 8: MIDTERM EXAMINATION
Reminder: all History Majors should see their academic advisor before registering for Spring Semester classes.
Oct. 15: The Bridge
Movie: Ken Burns, Brooklyn Bridge
Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge
Recommended: web sites on the Brooklyn Bridge
Oct. 22: The Suburban Dream
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 66-93, 138-41, 156-92, 207-13, 232- 51, 269-72,
Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, chaps. 1-11, 13.
Wright, Building the Dream, chaps. 6, 9, 11, 13.
Oct. 29: The City Beautiful
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 193-206, 274-82, 310-15, 451, 461
Bluestone, Constructing Chicago, chaps. 3, 5, 6, epilogue.
Recommended: web site on the World's Columbia Exposition
Essay assignment due - first draft
Nov. 5: NO CLASS
Nov. 12: The Birth of the Skyscraper
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 128-132, 218-19
Bluestone, Constructing Chicago, chap. 4.
Huxtable, Tall Building, 1-39.
Willis, Form Follows Finance, 1-130.
Nov. 19: Modernism and the Skyscraper
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 286-89, 301-09, 350-63
Bluestone, Constructing Chicago, chap. 4.
Huxtable, Tall Building, 39-120.
Willis, Form Follows Finance, 132-82.
Movie: The City
Recommended: web site on the construction of the Empire State Building
Nov. 26: NO CLASS - THANKSGIVING BREAK
Dec. 3: "Blow it Up": The Postmodern Reaction
Mayer and Wade, Chicago, 290-93, 316-21, 366-417, 438-73
Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, chaps. 12, 14-16.
Wright, Building the Dream, chaps. 12 & 14.
Recommended: web site on Big Empire State
Essay assignment due - final draft
FINAL EXAMINATION: Monday, 8 December 2003, 10:20-12:20 p.m.
412 Lewis Towers
DISCUSSIONS AND CRITICAL READING
Discussion and class participation is a very important part of your grade (20 percent). Incisive, imaginative and thoughtful comments that generate and facilitate discussion are weighed heavily in the final grade. Asking questions, responding to student questions and contributing to an ongoing discussion are a necessary part of the learning experience. Failure to speak in class will only lower a student's final grade. Discussions are scheduled for 8 class periods, each worth 2.5 "points." Students will receive .5 points for attendance, 1 point for minimal participation, and 2 or 2.5 points for active participation. Students who raise questions that generate discussion in other classes will earn extra points.
The best ways to prepare for and contribute to class discussion are: 1) complete the reading on time, and 2) critically analyze the reading. The primary goal of critical reading is to find the author's interpretation and what evidence and influences led to that conclusion. Never assume a "passive" position when reading a text. If students ask and attempt to answer the following questions, they will more fully comprehend and understand any reading.
1. What is the thesis of the author?
2. Does the author have a particular stated or unstated point of view? How does the author construct their argument? Are the author's goals, viewpoints, or agendas revealed in the introduction or preface? Does the author provide evidence to support the argument? Is it the right evidence? In the final analysis, do you think the author proves the argument or does the author rely on preconceived views or personal ideology? Why do you think that?
3. Does the author have a moral or political posture? Is it made explicit or implicit in the way the story is told? What is the author's view of human nature? Does change come from human agency and "free will" or broad socio-economic forces?
4. What assumptions does the author hold about society? Does the author see society as hierarchical, pluralistic, democratic or elitist? Does the author present convincing evidence to support this view?
5. How is the narrative constructed or organized? Does the author present the story from the viewpoint of a certain character or group? Why does the author begin and end at certain points? Is the story one of progress or decline? Why does the author write this way?
6. What issues and events does the author ignore? Why? Can you think of alternative interpretations or stories that might present a different interpretation? Why does the author ignore certain events or facts?
The essay requirement for this class serves several purposes. First, good, thoughtful writing disciplines and educates the mind. To write well, one must think well. If one's writing improves, so does their thinking and intelligence. Second, students personally experience on a first-hand basis some form of historical writing. A research paper relying on primary sources exposes students to the challenges, difficulties and even contradictions of analyzing historical events. Ideally, students will think more "historically" as a result of the exercise. Third, the essay can later function as a writing sample for students applying for future employment positions as well as to graduate or professional school.
For this class, students should choose a specific structure, block or well-defined neighborhood in a city as their subject, and then write either a research or historiographical essay.
Research essays analyze the specific topic using primary or original sources. Examples of primary sources include (but are not limited to) architectural drawings, newspapers, architectural reviews, engineering or construction records, diaries, letters, oral interviews, books published during the period under study, manuscript collections, and old maps. A research essay relies on source material produced by the subject or by institutions and individuals associated in some capacity with the subject. The use and immersion of the writer/researcher in such primary and original sources is often labeled "doing history." The subjects of such a paper can range from a specific skyscraper or bridge to an individual lot with a house on it.
Historiographical essays are based upon secondary sources, or what historians have written about a specific structure. Such a paper examines how historians' interpretations have differed and evolved over time regarding a specific topic or theme. The major focus of a historiographical essay are the ideas of historians, how they compare with each other and how they have changed over time.
Both types of assignments should be approximately 10 typewritten pages of text, plus notes. A select bibliography to help in the selection of a topic is attached, as is a guide to doing research on houses in Chicago. Students should select a topic as soon as possible, in consultation with the instructor. A preliminary bibliography which includes a bibliographic list of possible sources should be completed and handed in by 1:40 p.m., Wednesday, 24 September 2003.
All essays should be typed. Students who complete the essay early have the option to rewrite the paper upon its evaluation and return (remember the only good writing is good rewriting). For students who wish to have the option of rewriting the essay, TWO copies of the first draft of the essay should be in the professor's possession by 1:40 p.m., Wednesday, 29 Oct. 2003. All other and rewritten essays are due at the final class meeting on 3 December 2003. On both dates, students should submit TWO copies of the essay. Students who rewrite the essay should also include the corrected first draft.
All final papers should be free of typographical errors, misspellings and grammatical miscues. For every eight such mistakes, the essay's grade will be reduced by a fraction (A to A , A to B+, etc.). Essays are to be written for this class ONLY. No essay used to fulfill the requirements of a past or current course may be submitted. Failure to follow this rule will result in an automatic grade of F for the assignment. Extensions are granted automatically. However, grades on essays handed in 48 hours (or more late) will be reduced by a fraction (A to A , A to B+, etc.). Every three days thereafter another fraction will be dropped from the paper's final grade.
Students in search of a paper topic can begin their investigation with a cursory reading of any published overview on urban history. Examples include:
Raymond Mohl, ed. The Making of Urban America, second edition (Wilmington,
Del.: SR Books, 1997).
Eric H. Monkkonen, America Becomes Urban: The Development of U.S. Cities and Towns, 1780-1980 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1988).
John Reps, The Making of Urban America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965).
Sam Bass Warner, Jr., The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City
(New York: Harper and Row, 1972)
The following journals are also useful: Journal of Urban History, Urban History Yearbook, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, and Journal of Social History.
Good bibliographies on urban history can be found on the world-wide web:
The Urban Past: An International Urban History Bibliography
University of Guelph History
WWW-VL History: United States
Bibliographies on urban planning and design include:
UC Berkeley Library
WWW-VL History: United States
A good bibliography on Chicago is:
The History Gateway at Kansas
Web sites with descriptions and discussions of significant urban structures include:
Great Buildings Collection
STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM
Plagiarism will result in a final grade of F for the course as well a letter, detailing the event, to be placed in the offending student's permanent file in the Dean's office. The definition of plagiarism is:
You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else's words or
ideas but fail to credit that person. You plagiarize even when you do credit
the author but use his [or her] exact words without so indicating with quotation
marks or block indentation. You also plagiarize when you use words so close
to those in your source, that if your work were placed next to the source, it
would be obvious that you could not have written what you did with the sources
at your elbow.
Wayne Booth, Gregory C. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 167.
To avoid plagiarism, take notes carefully, putting all real quotes within quotation marks, while summarizing other parts in your own language. This is difficult; if you do not do it correctly, it is better to have all your notes in quotes. The worst thing is to alter a few words from the source, use no quotation marks, and treat the notes as a genuine summary. You will likely copy it out as written on your notecard, and thus inadvertently commit plagiarism. Changing around a word, a phrase, or a clause is still plagiarism if it follows the thought sequence or pattern in the original. On the other had, do not avoid plagiarism by making your paper a string of quotations. This results in poor writing, although it is not criminal.
In any case, do not let this prevent you from quoting your primary sources. As they are the Aevidence= on which you build your argument, you will need to quote them at necessary points. Just be sure to put quotation marks around them, or double indent them as in the example above, and follow the quote with a proper foot or endnote.
Adams, Thomas. The Building of the City. New York: Regional Plan for
New York and Its Environs, 1931, 2 vols.
Abbott, Edith. The Tenements of Chicago, 1880-1935. Chicago: Univ. of
Chicago Press, 1936.
Alterman, Hyman. Counting People: The Census in History. New York: Harcourt,
American City Magazine, 1900-1930. [detailed reports on International
Congress of Cities]
Art Index, 1929-
Berger, Miles L. They Built Chicago. Chicago: Bonus Books, 1992.
Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of the Interior. Urban Atlas, Tract
Date for Standard Metropolitcan Statistical Areas: Chicago, Ill.. Washington,
Butchart, Ronald E. Local Schools: Exploring Their History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1986.
Chicago Fact Book Consortium. Local Community Fact Book: Chicago Metropolitan Area, 1980. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1984.
Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry. Community Area Data Book. Chicago: Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, 1970.
Chicago Plan Commission. 44 Cities in the City of Chicago. Chicago: Chicago Plan Commission, 1942.
Condit, Carl W. American Building: Materials and Techniques from the Beginning of the Colonial Settlements to the Present. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1968.
-----. Chicago, 1910-1929: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1973.
-----. Chicago, 1930-1970: Building, Planning, and Urban Technology. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1974.
Cranz, Galen. The Politics of Park Design: A History of Urban Parks in America. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982.
DeForest, Robert W. and Lawrence Veiller, The Tenement House Problem. New York: Macmillan, 1903, 2 vols.
Danzer, Gerald A. Public Places: Exploring Their History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1987.
Fitch, James Marston. American Building: The Historical Forces that Shaped It. Second ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.
-----. American Building: The Environmental Forces that Shaped It. Second
ed. New York: Schocken, 1972.
Flink, James J. The Automobile Age. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1988.
Ford, James. Slums and Housing with Special Reference to New York City: History, Condtions, Policy. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1936.
Gilbert, Paul T. and Charles L. Bryson. Chicago and Its Makers. Chicago:
F. Mendelsohn, 1929.
Hauser, Philip, and Evelyn M. Kitagawa. Local Community Fact Book for Chicago,
1950. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1953.
Howe, Barbara J., Dolores A. Fleming, Emory L. Kemp, Ruth Ann Overbeck. Houses
and Homes: Exploring Their History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association
for State and Local History, 1987.
Hoyt, Homer. One Hundred Years of Land Values in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933.
Industrial Chicago. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1891, 4 vols.
Jordy, William H. American Buildings and Their Architects. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1976, 4 vols.
Kammen, Carol. On Doing Local History: Reflections on What Local Historians Do, Why, and What It Means. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1986.
Kerr, K. Austin, Amos J. Loveday, Mansel G. Blackford. Local Businesses: Exploring Their History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1990.
Kitagawa, Evelyn and Karl Tauber, eds. Local Community Fact Book: Chicago Metropolitan Area, 1960. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963.
Kyvig, David E. and Myron A. Marty. Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1982.
Industrial Arts Index, 1913-1957.
Mitchell, Brian R. International Historical Statistics: The Americas, 1750-1988, 2nd ed. New York: Stockton Press, 1993.
-----. International Historical Statistics: The Americas and Australasia. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1983.
-----. European Historical Statistics, 1750-1975, 2nd edition.
The People of Chicago, Who We Are and Who We Have Been: Census Data on Foreign Born, Foreign Stock, and Race, 1837-1970. Chicago: Department of Development and Planning, 1976.
Randall, Frank A. History of the Development of Building Construction in Chicago. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1949.
Real Estate Record Association. A History of Real Estate, Building, and Architecture in New York City During the Last Quarter Century. New York, 1898.
Salvadori, Mario. Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture. New York: McGraw Hill, 1980.
Sinkevitch, Alice, ed., A.I.A. Guide to Chicago (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993).
Stern, Robert A.M. Pride of Place: Building the American Dream. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
-----, Thomas Mellins, David Fishman. New York 1880: Architecture and Urbanism in the Gilded Age. New York: Monacelli, 1999.
-----, Gregory Gilmartin, John Massengale. New York 1900: Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism, 1890-1915. New York: Rizzoli, 1983.
-----, Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins. New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism between the Two World Wars. New York: Rizzoli, 1987.
----- Mellins, David Fishman, New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York: Monacelli, 1995.
Willensky, Elliot, and Norval White, A.I.A. Guide to New York City, 3rd edition. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.
Wind, James P. Places of Worship: Exploring Their History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1990.
Wirth, Louis, and Margaret Furez. Local Community Fact Book, 1938. Chicago: Chicago Recreational Commission, 1938.
Zukowsky, John, ed., Chicago Architecture, 1872-1922: Birth of a Metropolis. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1987.
-----. Chicago Architecture, 1923-1993: Reconfiguration of an American Metropolis. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1993.
This class was made possible by research grants from the National Endowment
for the Humanities, the State Government of New York, the Newberry Library
in Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago.
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