Some of Chicago's oldest maps discovered

A 180-year-old map of Chicago, drawn for a New York real estate investor when this city was a small western outpost of 350 people, was found last winter in a box in a north suburban estate sale and turned out to be a previously unknown document, possibly the oldest surviving map of the fledgling city.

"Chicago was a marshy swampland that stunk, but it had great geography," said Sammy Berk, head of the maps division at Harlan J. Berk Ltd, the rare coins and antiquities dealership founded by his father in 1964. "It was on the tip of Lake Michigan and 70 miles from a river that connected to the Mississippi, so it was going to grow with the nation," he said. "Charles Butler recognized that."

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