<< Back to Lessons Index

Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 2: The Growth of Cities/ Reform and Immigrants in America

The Growth of Cities/ Reform & Immigrants in America

The Growth of Cities

  • The growth of new industries led to a rapid increase of cities in the 1800s

  • The reason that cities grew was because people looked for work in the cities

  • Some cities specialized in specific industries

  • Example: Cleveland = Oil Refining City

  • Pittsburgh = Steel Capital

  • Chicago = Meat Packing Center

City Changes

  • City Streets began to be paved with asphalt in the 1800s---Before this the streets were dirt paths

  • Pipes were installed in houses and factories to carry water to people in the cities---Before this people had to pump water out of the ground into a bucket to get a drink of water

  • Sewers were developed to carry waste products away---Before this people had outhouses-and they had to use the restroom outside

City Transportation Changes

  • During most of the 1800s people traveled in cities on foot or on horseback

  • The wealthier people had horse drawn carriages or wagon carts pulled by horses

  • In the 1880s-transportation changed

  • Example: The railroads became important to transport people between cities

  • Then The Subway system was created in Boston---this was a rail system that transported people across the city

City Buildings change

  • The new process of making steel that Henry Bessemer had developed---allowed cities to build taller buildings out of steel

  • Steel was now cheaper and stronger

  • The Skyscrapers in cities were built in the late 1800s as a result

  • Also a man named Otis developed the elevator in the 1800s---so people did not have to climb stairs---they could ride the elevator in skyscrapers or tall buildings

  • Before the 1800s-buildings were only 2-4 stories and people used the stairs

The Statue of Liberty

  • In the late 1800s-France gave America an important gift: The Statue of Liberty

  • The Statue of Liberty was placed in New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom and liberty for all

  • As new people came to this country-the first thing they saw was this statue; which was a symbol of hope for a better life

Immigrant Stations

  • Immigrants are people who come to a new country that was not originally their own country to enter it as new citizens

  • The immigrants left their homes for various reasons: lack of food (In Ireland their was a potato famine), education, jobs, freedom of religion, etc.

  • There were 2 places that immigrants were allowed to enter the country at: 1. Ellis Island in New York City or 2. Angel Island in San Francisco


  • Any immigrant who entered America on the West coast came through Angel Island Immigration Center

  • Any immigrant who entered America on the East coast came through Ellis Island Immigration Center

  • The Centers made immigrants take written tests about America, get physical exams to see if the people were ill or sick, and fill out lots of forms


  • The new immigrants had lots of lines to wait in

  • The tests discriminated against certain people-and they were unfair and judgmental

  • The physical exams caused some people to not be allowed in this country

  • Sometimes the names of the immigrants were changed if they were too long or too hard to spell---and then they were given names like Smith or Jones for their last names


  • Immigrants are people who Enter a country from another country

  • Emigrants are people who Leave a country from another country

  • The Immigrants were very great in number between 1880-1920----there were thousands of immigrants who entered America on ships


  • There were housing shortages in America due to the large amount of immigrants that entered the United States in the late 1800s

  • As a result, many immigrants wound up in places called Slums

  • Slums are places in cities that are poor, crowded and run down with unsafe housing

  • Some immigrants ended up in places called tenements

  • Tenements were buildings that were carved up into small apartments----the tenements had no heat, no hot water, and bathrooms were shared by large families who lived in a single room---As a result of the crowding---diseases spread

Chicago 1871

  • Chicago was a city that many immigrants poured into in the 1800s

  • The immigrants in this city lived in small wooden buildings that could easily catch on fire

  • In 1871---a woman named Mrs. O'Leary had a cow that she kept outside of her building

  • The cow was by her kerosene lamp (An oil lamp with fire)----the cow knocked the lamp over and the apartment building caught fire

  • This was called the Great Chicago Fire----because 100,000 people were homeless and hundreds of people had died in the fire and 1/3 of Chicago was destroyed

Reform in Cities

  • A woman named Jane Addams decided to reform the immigration process

  • She wanted to help immigrants have a more comfortable entrance into America

  • Jane created a Settlement house---this was the country's first community center that provided child care, food, education and services to poor immigrants

  • Jane helped immigrants learn English, become citizens and find their way around large cities

Settlement house-

Jane Addams