Chicago Map Society Publications

Chicago-Lake Geneva: A 100-Year Road Trip: Retracing the Route of H. Sargent Michaels’ 1905 Photographic Guide for Motorists
Introduction by Robert W. Karrow Jr. New photographs by Wilbert Stroeve and James R. Akerman, 2008

In 1905 Homer Sargent Michaels, an automobile agent based in Chicago, developed an unusual solution to one of the thorniest problems facing early motorists: how to find one’s way from one city to another along the poorly marked rural roads of the time.  Michaels’s solution was to take photographs of every major intersection or turning point along a given route. The resulting books—ancestors of today’s digital in-car navigation systems—were remarkably useful, but few copies survive. The Chicago Map Society, in collaboration with the Newberry Library, compiled a new edition of one of Michaels’s 1905 guides showing the route from Chicago to Lake Geneva, a resort town in southern Wisconsin. This new edition reproduces the entire guide, along with brief explanations and new photographs of the same locations today. Chicago to Lake Geneva: A 100-Year Road Trip is a stellar  presentation of a historical artifact—and a fascinating drive down memory lane.

Edited by George Ritzlin, 1980