Chicago: A Journey From The Center Of The Earth

(Credit: Chicago History Museum)

(Credit: Chicago History Museum)

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — For all the discussion about Chicago as the Great American City and a World Class City, it was once depicted as the Center Of The World.

An old promotional poster for the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific railroads touts the way to see the world in 80 days (via ship and rail), and depicts Chicago as the center of the world map.

For example, New Yorkers could take a 30-hour train ride to Chicago, where they could board a train bound for San Francisco. After that 51/2 day journey, travelers would board a steam ship to Japan for their 24,300 mile around-the-globe adventure.

The train trip to California would include luxury travel on the railroad’s Palace Day and Sleeping cars, taking in amazing views of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges–9,000 feet above sea level.

The train cars were called the most expensive ever built.

The journey would include stops in Japan, China, India, Egypt, Italy, Spain, France and England.

The express trains, which traveled over the longest, continuous train track in the world at the time, left Chicago daily for California.

The entire trip would have cost $1,600.