Cities of the Heartland: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Midwest (Midwestern History &)

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9780253357861: Cities of the Heartland: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Midwest (Midwestern History &)

During the 1880s and '90s, the rise of manufacturing, the first soaring skyscrapers, new symphony orchestras and art museums, and winning baseball teams all heralded the midwestern city's coming of age. In Cities of the Heartland, Jon C. Teaford chronicles the development of these cities of the industrial Midwest as they challenged the urban supremacy of the East. The antebellum growth of Cincinnati to Queen City status was followed by its eclipse, as St. Louis and then Chicago developed into industrial and cultural centers. The early years of the twentieth century marked the heyday of the midwestern city. Automobile production made Detroit a boomtown, and automobile-related industries enriched communities throughout the heartland. Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School of architects asserted the Midwest's aesthetic independence, and Sherwood Anderson and Carl Sandburg helped establish Chicago as a literary mecca. At the same time, Jane Addams was making the Illinois metropolis an urban laboratory for experiments in social justice. During the second quarter of the twentieth century, emerging Sunbelt cities began to rob the heartland of its distinction as a boom area. In the last half of the century, however, midwestern cities have suffered some of their most trying times. With the 1970s and '80s came signs of age and obsolescence; the heartland had become the ""rust belt."" Teaford examines the complex ""heartland consciousness"" of the industrial Midwest through boom and bust. Geographically, economically, and culturally, the midwestern city is ""a legitimate subspecies of urban life.""

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About the Author:

JON C. TEAFORD is Professor of History at Purdue University. He is the author of a number of previous books on American urban history, including City and Suburb: The Political Fragmentation of Metropolitan America, 1850–1970 and The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America, 1940–1985.

From Library Journal:

A prequel to Teaford's earlier book on American cities since 1940, The Rough Road to Renaissance ( LJ 11/15/90), this work examines the growth of industrial cities of the Midwest in the middle and late 19th century and their decline during the first half of the 20th century. Although Teaford concentrates on major urban centers such as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee, he also considers smaller cities in the so-called Rust Belt that played important roles in the American industrial economy. The most impressive aspect of the book is Teaford's assertion that cities provided both the region and the nation with more than just economic leadership; they gave the country and the world some of its great cultural accomplishments. Some important urban centers are left out, and Teaford gives scant attention to suburbanization. Occasionally encyclopedic, the book is, however, understandably written. Recommended for all who want to learn about the origins of the contemporary urban crisis.
- Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Teaford, Jon C
Published by Indiana University Press (1993)
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