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Books & Monographs

DePaul Beyond Burnham book cover

Beyond Burnham: An Illustrated History of Planning for the Chicago Region
By Joseph P. Schwieterman and Alan P. Mammoser, Edited by John A Schuler, Lake Forest Press, 2009

This lushly illustrated book provides a fascinating account of a century of visionary planning for metropolitan Chicago.  From Daniel H. Burnham and Edward H. Bennett's famed 1909 Plan of Chicago to the push for superhighways and airports to battles over urban sprawl, the book showcases an illustrated portrait of the big personalities and the "big plans" they espoused.

The human face of planning appears in the interplay between public officials and citizen advocates. Powerful institutions-the Chicago Plan Commission and Regional Transportation Authority, among others-emerge to promote metropolitan goals.  Some efforts succeed while others fail, but the work of planners lives on in efforts to shape new visions for the region's future.

DePaul Politics of Place book cover
The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning In Chicago
By Joseph P. Schwieterman and Dana Caspall, Edited by Jane Heron, Lake Claremont Press, 2006

The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago reviews the interplay among development, planning, and zoning in the growth of the Gold Coast, the Central Area, and, more recently, massive "Planned Developments" such as Marina City, Illinois Center, and Dearborn Park. It tells the story of bold visions compromised by political realities, battles between residents and developers, and occasional misfires from City Council and City Hall.

What emerges is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes inspection of the evolving character of the city’s landscape. Schwieterman and Caspall recount the many planning innovations that have originated in Chicago, the complexities and intrigue of its zoning debates, and the recent adoption of a new zoning ordinance that promises to affect the city’s economy and image for years to come.

"Only in Chicago can zoning be epic. From the nuisance laws of the 19th century targeting Chicago’s notorious filth to its cutting-edge new code, this meticulously researched book chronicles the use of zoning as both handmaiden for the just and tool for the self-serving. City planners and urban historians will delight in the colorful tale of how a city’s backbone—and zoning is indeed Chicago’s backbone—supports its broad shoulders."
— Michael Davidson, Editor, Zoning Practice, American Planning Association 

When the Railroad Leaves Town

DePaul When the RR Leaves Town book cover
Vol. I: "American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment: Eastern United States"

Railroads once spread across the American landscape, radiating from towns like spokes on a wheel. They were the backbone of the municipal economy and essential to commercial and civic life in thousands of communities, however this remarkable era has ended. The nation’s railroads have eliminated more than 130,000 miles of routes-over half of their total mileage-since 1916.

"When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment" considers the rise and fall of rail service in 64 communities in the eastern half of the U.S. distinguished by their notable railroad histories or unusual experiences with railroad abandonment. It tells the story of transportation providers struggling to survive in a changing economy only to surrender to the relentless forces of the marketplace. In many communities, the withdrawal of the railroad had unexpected consequences; in others, it forever altered the rhythm of daily life.

Using an interdisciplinary approach drawing upon the fields of history, geography, and urban planning, the book illuminates some of the dominant forces that led to the development of steam and electric railroads as well as the economic and political factors eventually accelerating their decline. Illustrated with maps and photographs depicting rail lines at their zenith as well as their abandoned remnants today, it provides a vivid portrait of an industrial saga that has touched the lives of millions of Americans. This book is 376 pages including a comprehensive index.

Emendations and Errata

Listed below are proposed emendations and corrections as of April 2002, organized by page number, based on comments brought to Joseph Schwieterman's, the author’s, attention. Minor grammatical errors are excluded. The author welcomes suggestions and comments via email at​.

Individuals to be added to acknowledgement list: Ligonier: E. Kay Myers, Coventry, R.I., Brian Manning.

Emendations by page:
xvi Photo location is Hopedale, Mass.
14 Communities along Connecticut river should be Middle Haddam and East Haddam
16 Will omit phrase "having encountered opposition from town leaders." I have been told that J.T. Scharf was mistaken on this point in History of Delaware. Note also on page 17 that the Smyrna town hall became known as the "Opera House" after the 1948 fire.
20 Publication date of Trail of the Blue Comet: 1994. Author of Life of Edward Budd: Mark Reutter
75 First full sentence: omit the words "the route from."​ Omit word "Indiana" from next paragraph.
80 Photo is by David Oroszi
89 Top of page, substitute word "removed from service" for "abandoned"
91 The destination of excursion trains appears to have been Camp 133
149 First letter of Troy section is a T (computer error)
185 Change phrase "at approximately the same time as" to "more than a century after"
212 Manfield B. Wakefield’s To the Mountains by Rail should be listed as a suggested reading.
240 Abandonment year of last electric route occurred in 1931 (not 1929). Also, the reference to Lorain in last paragraph of page 239 should be changed to Lorain County.
248 First letter of Xenia section should be "F"
310 Date of "fateful conversation" was 1960 (not 1980).
311 Author of The Durbin Route is William Price McNeel
315 For clarity, the phrase (first column) "east of Clarksburg" will be changed to "east of Cumberland, Md."
319 Second column, second sentence: phrase should be "now enjoyed"


DePaul When the RR Leaves Town book cover
Vol. II: "American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment: Western United States"

Thousands of miles of railroad routes steeped in history are now dusty trails bereft of their former significance. Rendered expendable by evolving market forces, these bygone corridors are testaments to the profound changes in the way we travel and conduct business."

When the Railroad Leaves Town" illustrates the circumstances surrounding the rise and fall of rail service in 58 western U.S. communities distinguished for their notable railroad histories. It tells the story of transportation providers struggling to survive and the legal battles and civic initiatives spurred by the abandonment of routes. Generously illustrated with maps and photographs depicting rail lines at their zenith and their abandoned remnants today, the book rekindles the saga of the Milwaukee Road, Pacific Electric, Rio Grande, Rock Island, and dozens of other "fallen flags" of the West.