Chicago was the center of a spider web of railroads heading in all directions. These blotters from the Dale Hastin collection represent some of the smaller railroads in that web.
The Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City was formed from the merger of several other railroads in 1886. These two blotters from around 1890 advertise the latest equipment of that era, including dining cars and vestibules.
In 1893, the Chicago Great Western acquired the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City, so many of the lines on the map in the blotter below are from the earlier railroad. The blotter notes that the railroad provided the “coolest route to the expositions.” Could that be the 1893 Chicago Exposition? Since “expositions” is plural and the clothes on the angler are more recent than 1983, it more likely refers to the 1939 New York and San Francisco fairs, even though neither New York nor San Francisco were on the Chicago Great Western.
The Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad was formed in 1890. This blotter is dated 1908.
In 1916, the Chicago & Milwaukee was reorganized and renamed the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee. This blotter from that railroad is dated 1948.