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Unloading rolls of paper from a horse drawn cart. Nov 7th 1903.

[Detail] Unloading rolls of paper from a horse drawn cart. Nov 7th 1903.

Chronological Thinking

One of the most obvious manifestations of change in this collection of photographs is the change in transportation technology. The collection's Special Presentation of Topics to Explore includes a section on Horse Power for Transportation. It explains and illustrates the changes in transportation on the streets of Chicago during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Read this Special Presentation and answer the following questions to examine change over time.

  • What forms of transportation could be found on the city streets of Chicago during the first three decades of the twentieth century?
  • Which forms of transportation dominated in the early and latter part of this period?
  • Why did horses continue to be used even after the advent of trucks and automobiles?
  • Why did people begin to use trucks and automobiles instead of horses?
  • Can you estimate the dates of photographs based on the transportation documented in them?

While the streets of Chicago bustled with a mixture of horse-drawn buggies and gasoline powered automobiles, the skies over Illinois prairies were visited by balloon-powered airships and propeller airplanes. The three decades following the Wright brothers' first flight in 1903 saw innovations and daring that culminated in Charles A. Lindbergh's historical flight of the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic in 1927.

Search on airship and airplane for over 500 images that document the evolution of aviation technology in the early twentieth century. Research the exploits of early pilots such as Walter Brookins, who in July, 1910, became the first person to pilot an airplane to an altitude of one mile, Charles F. Williard, who made the first flight over Los Angeles five months later, and Charles A. Lindbergh, who made the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Begin by searching on their names in this collection.

  • What do these photographs indicate about how early airships got off the ground?
  • What changes are apparent in airplanes of later years?
  • What role did feats performed by pilots such as Brookins, Williard, and Lindbergh play in the evolution of aviation technology?
  • How would you expect World War I to have impacted the evolution of aviation technology?