This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The Illinois State Fair held at Chicago last month has been one of those events which the Horticulturist should not pass over. The pulse of " Young America" beats so strongly in that direction that an old-fashioned doctor might fear a rush of blood to the head, did he not know the constitution of the patient would bear a constant pressure of fever heat.
By invitation of the Society, and of the Central Illinois Railroad Company, we visited the Fair, and can safely say that the half had not been told us regarding this portion of our great Confederacy. Chicago is reached from Philadelphia by continuous connections of different railroads, via Pittsburgh, in forty to forty-four hours with ease ana comfort. The first view of the new city is striking, and we will add astonishing ; it may be doubted if the world ever saw such rapid progress. Twenty-five years only have elapsed since the Indian inhabited the site where is now a great city of eighty thousand inhabitants ; fine houses of elegant structure, models in their way inside and out, skirt the lake and adorn the interior of the city ; the depots are magnificent, and this is all aided by the most beautiful building stone and fine bricks, the colors differing from any other American structures, thus giving that indefinable charm to the eye of the traveller, of novelty when combined with good taste.
We shall take occasion hereafter to return to these subjects ; our business is now with the State Fair.
The collection of fruit surpassed in some particulars that at Elmira. The apples, which seem to be thoroughly at home in the soil of Illinois, were surprisingly beautiful and large ; the pears not so good this season as in Western New York, but still very fair.
The apples known at the castward were so much larger and finer here that we scarcely recognized them ; the Belle-flower which have deteriorated at home were in greater perfection than we have ever known ; the Newtown pippin and Ram bo deserved the same praise. There were numerous seedling varieties not yet named, of great merit.
The Catawba grapes were particularly large and delicious, especially those from Hennepin, Illinois, and Kelly's Island, in Lake Erie. The wines exhibited, Catawba, Bland, and Isabella, were highly creditable.
The collection of agricultural implements was remarkable. Chicago seems to manufacture almost every thing, and the wonder grew at every step at the progress made by this "Garden city," our visit to which will remain among our most agreeable reminiscenoes, where private hospitality, the most generous and kind, was mingled with society of the truly intellectual and progressive.
From Chicago we proceeded to Galena, near the Mississippi, and examined the lead mines, returning via the Illinois Central Railroad. which runs directly through the state to Cairo ; stopped at St Louis, and thence visited Cincinnati, thus having a fair view of the West, and a never-to-be-forgotten ride through the immense prairies. Mr. Barry, in another article, has forestalled us in admiration, and wonder, and adjectives, to which, however, we fully subscribe, but must let our reminiscences subside into something of a calm before we can record the wonders of this, another New World, just opened to man by that civilizer, the Railroad. Illinois has now a population of a million and a half, against 157,445 in 1830!