Click on the buttons to zoom into the area containing the Haymarket neighborhood. This neighborhood is circled in white.

This bird's-eye perspective, looking west from above Lake Michigan, offers one of the most stunning images of nineteenth-century Chicago. "Urbs in Horto," or City in a Garden, remained the official motto as Chicago's flat and undistinguished natural landscape was largely effaced by man-made structures.

The Palmatary drawing is perhaps the best visual representation ever produced of the city's breadth and energy, if also of its unrelieved flatness and the relentlessness of the grid along which its streets—most of them yet unpaved—were laid out. This map also demonstrates Chicago's critical location between the Great Lakes and the prairie, and the importance of the Chicago River, along which grain elevators and depots for lumber and other commodities were situated.

The lithograph dates from just nine years after the completion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which connected the South branch of the river (seen forking to the left from the main branch in the middle of the map) ultimately to the Mississippi River. Already, however, we see evidence of the developing primacy of the railroad (which also entered the city in 1848), as Illinois Central Railroad locomotives steam in and out of the young metropolis along the breakwater in the foreground. The tracks now run below grade level in the expanded Grant Park. Some of the area between the breakwater and the shore was filled in with rubble from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The size of the map, approximately four by seven feet, allows for breathtaking attention to detail, including drawings of individual buildings. These become visible in the more detailed views, in which one can see the West Side Market, better known as the Haymarket, located in the top center of the map. The Haymarket is in the middle of Randolph Street where it intersects with Desplaines Street. The West Side Market was erected not long after the city's first market, located on State Street between Randolph and Lake, opened in 1848. At roughly the same time, a North Side Market was built along Dearborn and Michigan (now Hubbard) streets on the site later occupied by the courthouse and jail where the Haymarket accused were tried, held as prisoners, and executed.

These markets served an expanding city whose residents could no longer rely on their own gardens or on provisioners' carts that once went door-to-door. The State Street Market also served as the original city hall (as well as a setting for plays and concerts) until grander quarters were constructed in 1853 in the block bounded by Clark, Randolph, LaSalle, and Washington Streets, where the current city hall and county building are located. As this area became increasingly commercial, residents who used the State Street Market moved away from the center of the city and were served by retail stores near their homes. The market itself soon went into decline, and was gone by the middle of the 1850s.

But the Haymarket area, even if the actual market building is long gone, remains to this day an area for wholesale food businesses. They are currently threatened by the recent appearance of trendy restaurants and upscale housing (some in former warehouse buildings) in the neighborhood.