Make (Up) No Small Apocryphal Statements


All non-Seattleites need to be blocked from accessing SLOG.
"Sergio" Calatrava? Fact check, please!
Seriously, Matt. Because it's a Seattle blog, dontcha know.
OMG we are not gonna have enough interwebs! I didn't realize the hording had begun. I am gonna go post on a bunch of Chicago blogs right now, then we can make them pay.
Dammit Savage, your clogging the TUBES... now my personal internet will be backed up for months!
Good Morning Dan,
I'm just back from Egypt. Good to be back on SLOG. I didn't read the Chicago Reader article. I fondly recall that weekly newspaper when I last resided in Chicago. That said, I have two sources for that quote. I have read the following books which mention the Burnham quote. They are "City of the Century" by Donald Miller & "Grand Avenues" by Scott Berg. Here's the quote as I know it. I posted it on my office wall:

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty"

BTW, I read the Sears Tower was renamed the Willis Tower today. That's slightly disappointing.
I trust you're well.
@6, those aren't sources. They're repeating the same words that were printed upon Burnham's death by a colleague in the newspaper. Burnham never said them.

I don't have a dog in the Chicago park fight, but I very much appreciate Bill S.'s pointing out that the flowery "big plans" talk applies most notably to the vast network of freeways that were laid over Chicago, and almost Seattle, too. People forget how close we came to that disaster. See…

So I'm an opponent of big plans, generally. Burnham wanted to flatten most of Chicago, which would have been a bad idea. And if I had my way, no building project in any city would be allowed to take up more than a sixth of a block, except for train stations. And parks are dumb.

In general, I agree. Big plans usually lead to big government, which inevitably leads to corruption. As a Chicago resident, I see that in spades. However, I do loves me parks and green space, so that is a chink in my no big gov armor.
If it weren't for this blog, I never would have read Mike Royko's Boss, which was a good book. So thanks.
Two other sources cite Burnham. (just Google "Daniel Burnham quote" and you'll see several entries. Many attribute the quote to him). Even Bill Savage in the article uses the adverb "probably" meaning he's not absolutely certain. So, unless you have some other scholarly source (a bio?), I wouldn't be so sure.
Experts on his biography admit he never wrote these words. Their source was a Christmas card sent by a colleague after his death, attributing them to him. I used "probably" because that's accurate. Had he said them in any public forum or speech, there would be some record, and there isn't. But he might have said this in a Turkish bath, while getting his vast bulk scrubbed down, to his compatriot, who had the words burned into his memory, but only brought them up years later after the Great Man's Death.