St. Louis, Missouri was called “Paris on the Prairie” in 1867. Denver, Colorado was called “Paris on the prairie” in 1894.
Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) co-authored a 1909 Plan of Chicago (also called the “Burnham Plan"). Burnham attempted to make Chicago into a cultured city like Paris, but the term “Paris on the Prairie” was not used for Chicago and the plan at this time. “Paris on the Prairie” became a popular description of the Burnham Plan in the 1990s.
Wikipedia: Plan of Chicago
The Burnham Plan is a popular name for the 1909 Plan of Chicago, co-authored by Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett. It recommended an integrated series of projects including new and widened streets, parks, new railroad and harbor facilities, and civic buildings. Though only portions of the plan were realized, the document reshaped Chicago’s central area and was an important influence on the new field of city planning.
The plan has been criticized for its focus on physical improvements, an attempt to create “Paris on the Prairie.” Burnham’s handwritten draft of the plan contained extensive discussion of social needs, but the final publication does not. The plan’s list of big infrastructure improvements were badly needed by a rapidly growing city, at a time when an expanding tax base made it possible to undertake large projects.
Wikipedia: List of nicknames for Chicago
“Paris on the Prairie” – From the 1909 plan for the City of Chicago created by Daniel Burnham.
2 August 1867, Daily Evening Traveller (Boston, MA), “Great Cities and Men of Influence,” pg. 1, col. 2:
... a score of mighty municipalities like Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and the Paris of the Prairie, St. Louis.
14 December 1894, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, “Eye Opener: Chicago Labor Delegates Are Surprised; Denver Convention Indorses Gompers Actions,” pg. 5, col. 1:
The entire department was called out and made an excellent showing, at the conclusion of which John Burns mounted the water tower, and, addressing the gathering of citizens who had assembled to see the department at work, thanked them and the city authorities of the “Paris on the prairie” for their hospitality, and stated that the exhibition witnessed by the English delegates was the finest they had ever seen.
22 October 1909, Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, pg. 1, col. 8:
For Civic Progress.
Already Planted in Many Cities of the Country.
Will Make Them Rival Paris in Magnificence.
23 September 1990, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “Arts View” by Helen Cullinan, pg. 3-H, col. 3:
Chicago has grown from the “Paris of the Prairie” into a major art market in a little more than a decade since its first international ART EXPO on Navy Pier.
16 June 1993, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Capone’s Chicago Gives Al a Shine” by Mary Schmich, pg. 1:
This breaks the hearts of those who want Chicago known as Paris on the Prairie.
“We do not promote anything that glorifies gangsterism in Chicago,” said Dorothy Coyle at the Chicago Office of Tourism, when asked about Capone’s Chicago. “Chicago already has wonderful cultural attractions for visitors.”
Edited by Charles Madigan
Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press
Daniel Burnham envisioned Chicago as a “Paris on the Prairie” and crafted an urban plan that fostered the boulevards, parks, plazas, transportation corridors, and lakefront development that mark the city to this day.
OCLC WorldCat record
Chicago: Sculpture in Burnham’s ``Paris on the Prairie’’
Author: V M Cassidy
Publisher: Washington, DC : International Sculpture Center, c1987-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Sculpture. 27, no. 4, (2008): 12-13
Plan of Chicago: Paris on the Prairie
2009 DECEMBER 22
by Caroline Nye Stevens
The Merchant’s Club and Commercial Club of Chicago combined forces towards this goal and chose architect Daniel H. Burnham to lead the project. A force of charisma with the heart of a business man, Burnham was key to managing the project and popularizing it among the people. For help designing and implementing the Plan he chose Edward H. Bennett, formally trained in architecture at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts in Paris. Bennett’s classical training and Burnham’s preference for classicism is clear in the resulting plan, nicknamed: “Paris on the Prairie”.
Nicknames of Other Places • Windy City, Second City, Chi-Town (Chicago nicknames) • Tuesday, August 09, 2016 • Permalink