How did life in the cities improve during the Progressive era?
As we have studied progressive ideas, brought about by the
degradation faced by many during the industrial age, had a profound
impact on legislation and government programs. Progressive ideas also
impacted upon daily life in the cities as we shall see today.
I. City Life Improves
A. A variety of improvements are made.
1. Professional Police and Firefighting forces are
2. New transportation systems are developed like the trolley car
and the elevated railway.
3. New sanitation systems are built like sewers and city saniation
departments are created to remove waste.
4. Housing improvements are made. Buildings that were made of wood
are now made of stone. Tenements were replaced by dumbell tenements
and then dumbell tenements are replaced by apartment buildings.
B. Skyscrapers built
1. Louis Sullivan – first architect to design and
build a skyscraper made of steel support. He coined the phrase “Form
C. Parks Planned
1. Frederick Olmstead – Designed Central Park and
other city park systems.
2. Daniel Burnham – Designed Colombian Exposition of 1893 in
D. Shopping Improves
1. Departments Stores
2. Chain Stores – Frank W. Woolworth
3. Shopping Centers
4. Restaurants became popular
E. Private Citizens Tackle Depressing Urban Life
1. Settlement houses – Classes in English, health,
crafts, music, drama, college extension classes for the ambitious,
reading to illiterates. Social services for deserted women and widows
were provided as well as furniture if possible. Sent nurses out to
help the sick.
a) Jane Addams – Hull House, Chicago