Michael Portillo embarks on a new American rail journey from Milwaukee to Chicago. Michael learns how the first Harley Davidson motorcycle was built.
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I have crossed the Atlantic to ride the railroads of North America
with my reliable Appleton's guide.
Published in the late 19th century,
my Appleton's General Guide to North America will direct me
to all that's novel, beautiful,
memorable and striking in the United States.
As I journey across this vast continent,
I'll discover how pioneers and cowboys conquered the West
and how the railroads tied this nation together,
helping to create the global superstate of today.
My rail journey across America's Midwest
has brought me to Lake Michigan.
At the time of my Appleton's guide,
the United States was at the forefront of a global second Industrial Revolution
featuring steel, chemicals and heavy engineering.
Railroads and steamships tied the markets of the world together.
The cities of the Great Lakes
supplied the ingredients for success -
a transport hub, innovation and manual labour.
I started my journey in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities, and travelled
alongside the Mississippi River
before crossing into Wisconsin at La Crosse.
Now I'm bound for the shores of Lake Michigan at Milwaukee,
from where I'll turn south to the Windy City, Chicago,
before travelling the length of Illinois, calling at Centralia.
I'll then rejoin the Mississippi
before ending in Memphis, Tennessee.
Today, I'll make my way to explore Wisconsin's largest city -
From there, I'll head south, stopping at Racine,
before arriving in this nation's railway hub - Chicago.
On my travels, I taste the freedom of the American open road...
-Ready to ride?
-I'm ready to ride.
..strike out in America's national game...
Here we go! You're looking like a natural already!
I make a few announcements...
258, your train's never late.
258, your train's never late.
And I'm blown away by the Windy City.
Chicago at sunset.
Surely one of the world's most stunning cities.
By the time of my Appleton's,
the railways had already helped to establish communities in the Midwest.
Now these communities were transforming America.
My first stop will be Milwaukee, which Appleton's tells me
is the commercial capital of Wisconsin and next to Chicago,
the largest city in the Northwest,
situated on the west shore of the lake at the mouth of the Milwaukee River.
As railroads linked up with waterways,
technology supplied jobs for this city of motivated immigrants.
-MAN OVER PA:
-The entire crew would like to thank you all very much
for travelling with us.
Your final stop - downtown Milwaukee.
The railroad first reached Milwaukee in 1851.
I enjoyed the ride, thank you so much.
But my Appleton's reminds readers that this city
is also the best harbour
on the south or west shore of Lake Michigan,
the third largest of America's Great Lakes.
There is no hope of seeing across Lake Michigan
to the opposite shore - it is far too vast.
To Europeans like me, these Great Lakes seem like seas,
and they are an important part of the making of America.
These enormous bodies of water, joined together,
enabled people and goods to travel vast distances through them in
the days before the railroads.
The Milwaukee that greeted the Appleton's traveller
had a distinctive appearance.
Apparently, "the peculiar cream colour of the Milwaukee brick gives
"the city a unique and pretty appearance
"and has earned for it the name the Cream City of the Lakes."
Despite Milwaukee's genteel architecture,
at the time of my guidebook, it was a proudly blue-collar city.
Appleton's tells me that "manufactures here are extensive
"and embraced pig iron, iron castings, machinery and wheels."
Give me a pair of wheels!
A few decades after my guidebook was published,
Milwaukee's mechanical ingenuity gave birth to an American icon.
The motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was founded here
and remains a symbol of the United States's freewheeling,
-How are you?
-What a wonderful machine!
Thank you so much.
So, you are Bill Davidson, as in Harley-Davidson.
What's the connection?
Well, my great-grandfather was one of the original founders of the company,
William A Davidson was his name, and we are literally within...
several yards of where that original factory shed was,
and that was in the back yard of my great-great-grandparents.
Did motorbikes exist when Harley and Davidson got going?
Yes. There were motorcycles.
In the late 1800s, there was actually a steam-powered motorcycle.
Quite a contraption.
There were a lot of different people working in this arena of
trying to develop a motorcycle.
Childhood friends William S Harley and Arthur Davidson
dreamed of building a winning design.
They enlisted the help of Arthur's older brothers,
who had experience in Milwaukee's railroad workshops.
And, in 1903, they rolled serial number one out of that shed.
Given that there was so much competition,
how did Harley and Davidson get their break, do you think?
Very early on, they created a unique look,
the unique sound and they created a unique feel.
You know, it's a magnet, it pulls you in.
When you see a Harley, people actually say,
even if they don't ride,
they will say, "Nice Harley!"
I wonder if it's something to do with the shape of your continent.
It is vast.
Is that part of it? It's the invitation to the Easy Rider.
You know, it might be that Wild West feeling,
that little bit of rebel in all of us, right?
Bill, happy riding to you.
Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.
Today, there are plenty of magnificent machines on display
at one of Milwaukee's regular biker gatherings.
-Would you mind switching on the engine for me?
Let me hear the sound of your bike.
ENGINE TURNS ON
I can't hear it!
I heard it.
Thank you very much.
Where do you ride your bike to?
Actually, I came from Saudi Arabia.
Do you feel a companionship with other Harley riders?
Because we are a biker relationship between ourselves.
Biker is always brotherhood, you can't buy it.
-Enjoy your biking.
-Hey! I love them pants you've got on!
You're so sweet.
How nice to see you.
I'd get away with those pants. I like that.
-And who's this you've got on the back here?
-This is my mini me.
-Your mini me?
-Yeah, she has travelled the 48 states with me.
-You've been through 48 states?
-In 27 days.
-So, tell me, what's it all about?
-You feel free.
It is like a therapy for me.
The moment I got on the bike, it was like, whoa!
It's just... It's therapeutic, truly.
Have...? Do you ride motorcycles? I can ride you here.
-I could. So, you know what it is to ride on this seat?
Do you know what it's called?
-No, it's called riding bitch.
So, you'll be riding as my bitch!
It's a privilege.
That's right, it's definitely a privilege!
You'll be pleased to hear that I don't have to leather up.
-Ready to ride?
-I'm ready to ride.
I have joined a brotherhood and a sisterhood of people
linked by their choice of motorbike.
Back in 1879,
Milwaukee was one of the powerhouses of America's Industrial Revolution.
It was the plentiful immigrant workforce that enabled the United States
to lead the world in manufacturing.
As my guidebook tells me,
"Milwaukee's population growth has been very rapid," and,
in this downtown district, there is evidence of one group of newcomers.
Appleton's tells me that "Germans constitute nearly half the population."
Their influence is everywhere - breweries, beer saloons, gast haus,
music halls and restaurants.
One hears German spoken as often as English,
but what ideas did they bring?
I'm making my way to Turner Hall,
which was a focal point for Milwaukee's 19th-century German community.
History professor Aims McGuinness
has been a so-called Turner for eight years.
It's great to be here. It's an...intriguingly historic building.
I mean, for example, what's that?
This is a monument to members of the Turners who died fighting for
the union during the Civil War in the United States.
The centrepiece of this beautiful building is its imposing ballroom.
Aims, there is a wonderful faded grandeur to the hall.
What have been its uses over the years?
This was a place to have political debates, to read books,
to listen to a lecture, to listen to Beethoven
and also to hoist a beer and to build your muscular strength.
All those things went together for the Turners and, for us, they still do.
What was the origin of the Turners?
The Turners originated in Prussia,
in what's now Germany, in the early 1800s.
The founding principles were
the notions of a sound mind and sound body.
Founder Friedrich Ludwig Jahn
named his movement after the physical exercises
he devised that he called Turnen.
Today, this word still means gymnastics in German,
but Turnerism went far beyond sport.
In order to become a Turner,
one must commit oneself to the cause of liberty
and to oppose tyranny in all its forms.
In Europe, the principal form of tyranny
to which they imposed themselves was monarchy.
When they came to the United States,
it was the institution of slavery that they opposed.
Many Turners fled Prussia for America
after participating in a failed revolution in 1848.
Soon, Turners defended their new nation's founding principle
of liberty with their lives, marching into battle
with the Union Army in the American Civil War.
Do you think then that the Civil War monument that we just saw
had a real significance in demonstrating their patriotism?
Oh, I think absolutely.
In some ways, a monument created in the early 20th century in German
commemorating people who had sacrificed their lives for freedom
in the United States wasn't so much a provocation, and the message is,
"Look, one does not need to speak English at all times in order to be a patriotic American,
"one can speak German as well."
And who will tell these people that they are not fully patriotic?
They've sacrificed their lives for the nation.
German influence on the modern United States
was suppressed during two world wars,
but the principle of sound body, sound mind lives on here.
Stretch your legs as far as you can.
Try and reach your ankles.
-How do you do that?
-Well, I'm a woman.
I can only hope that my tight hamstrings
aren't a sign of an inflexible intellect
as I join the weekly Ladies Auxiliary exercise class
under the guidance of Nora.
Arms over your head.
Try to keep your elbows straight.
These ladies are giving me an enormous work-out.
OK. Now get up any way you can.
In the 1880s, Milwaukee was known as the nation's watering hole.
German immigrants brought with them a taste for beer
and my Appleton's tells me "the breweries are large and numerous."
Pints of Pilsner were the perfect accompaniment to another German gift to Milwaukee - bowling.
I'm calling in at Holler House bowling alley,
one of the oldest in the country,
run for the past 62 years by the redoubtable Marcy.
Marcy, do you serve beer here?
-Do I serve beer?
-Well, what the hell do you think I'm here for?
Could I have a Milwaukee beer, please?
Sure. There you go.
-I used to.
I bowled until I was 70 years old, but now I'm 90.
-You are 90?
Wow! Are you going to show me the basics of how to bowl?
-I show you how to bowl?
-Sure, what the hell?
American ten-pin bowling evolved from traditional European skittles.
What kind of fingers have you got?
-This should fit you.
Like that, yeah? Now what?
Now, see that middle arrow?
-Throw it towards that one.
Do it for the team, Mike!
CHEERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
19th-century Milwaukee might seem to have been a macho kind of place,
but it wasn't all beer,
bowling and bikers at the time of my Appleton's guide.
While I'm in the city,
I want to look into a small appliance
that altered forever both the office and the home -
a certain inventive Milwaukee type was key to the development.
I've come to the Milwaukee Public Museum to track down
the history of the typewriter.
In street scenes that would have been familiar to an Appleton's traveller,
I'm meeting curator Al Muchka.
-Very good to see you.
-Good to see you, too.
Why is Milwaukee important in the development of the typewriter?
Well, Milwaukee is important because of Christopher Latham Sholes.
He was one of our local residents, he was an inventor, a newspaperman,
and he was working on an addressing device for his newspapers,
first by looking at how to transmit the action
of the finger to a letter on the page -
and we can take a look at that right here.
That is an extraordinary thing because, to me,
it resembles a piano much more than it does a typewriter.
Well, this is one of the early models.
We believe this is about 1868.
The idea was that you would strike a key, like a piano,
and it would actuate across these bars,
which were then tied to a tower with rods and actuators
that would actually bring the type piece up to strike the paper.
But now, this suddenly begins to look like a typewriter.
-What is this?
-This is an 1870s version of the Sholes typewriter.
So what we have here is a refinement.
The biggest thing here is, by this time,
they actually developed the Qwerty keyboard
that we are familiar with today.
So why do we have Q-W-E-R-T-Y at the beginning of our keyboard?
Well, it has to do with the arrangement of the rods
and all of the little connections inside of the machine.
If you put it in a regular alphabetic order,
things tend to cross or letters next to each other will catch on each other.
That is extraordinary.
I mean, I have here, obviously, a 21st-century mobile phone,
it has a Qwerty keyboard,
and you're telling me that
the origin of that was a mechanical difficulty that,
way back in the 19th century, Sholes was trying to solve.
That's exactly right.
It was established in the 1870s and it lives with us today.
Sholes' design went into mass production
after he won the backing of the Remington company.
The Remington No 1 went on sale in 1874.
It became the world's first commercially successful typewriter.
Sholes had used his daughter Lillian to demonstrate his earlier devices
and Remington continued to market its newfangled contraptions to women.
Al, these are...
wonderful objects and literally beautiful.
This is one of the original Sholes and Glidden machines.
It's painted and decorated this way because of the Remington company.
So the idea was that,
if the scary typewriting machine was decorated in a similar way
to an object that's already in your home, you'd be more apt to use it,
especially for women.
Their manual dexterity was considered to be superior to that of men,
so they were really desired as typists.
By 1888, there were 60,000 typists across America
and most of them were women.
Were women typists reasonably well paid?
Your average clerk at the time was making about 9 a week.
An experienced typist could make 20 a week.
That was an incredible amount of money at the time.
So the typewriter, an object that I very much take for granted,
had a huge impact on business, a huge impact on society, too.
That's exactly right.
Ah! Now, that is the sort of machine that I remember being in my house
in my childhood. What is that?
This is my personal machine, it's a Royal Deluxe.
It's the same model that Hemingway used.
It's a while since I used one of these.
Before I leave Milwaukee, I'm curious to sample one
of its favourite treats.
-Hello. I'm from out-of-town.
Can you tell me what frozen custard is, please?
Frozen custard is like ice cream, except it is made with fresh cream
and eggs, and we serve it fresh out of the machine everyday.
Right. That sounds good. Now, what flavour do you recommend?
Our most populars are butter pecan and vanilla.
Butter pecan, ooh, yes. Let me have that one, please.
And can I have it in one of those cones with the Stars and Stripes
-Yes, sure. How many scoops would you like?
-One through five?
-One through five?!
-Wow, maybe two?
-OK. Anything else?
-No, just that, please.
First made in 1919 in Coney Island, New York,
when egg yolks were added to ice cream,
frozen custard is hugely popular in the dairy state of Wisconsin.
And Milwaukee is the unofficial frozen custard capital of the world.
-Thank you, sir.
-Have a good day.
Oooh. It's melting quickly.
Wow, that is so rich. Lots of butter.
But I love the crunchiness...
..of the pecans.
I'm bidding Milwaukee farewell
and following my Appleton's 30 miles south.
The book tells me that the tracks run along the west shore of Lake Michigan
through a rich farming region.
Farmers played a vital role in 19th-century urbanisation
I'm heading for Racine, Wisconsin, the second city of the state,
pleasantly situated on a plateau
projecting about five miles into the lake.
Manufactures are the chief source of the city's prosperity.
Today's researchers will produce a combined harvest
of mechanisation and agriculture.
TRAIN HORN BLARES
I'm on the case of a man who knew how to sort
the wheat from the chaff.
Case IH Agriculture is now a global brand.
Marketing manager Juliann Ulbrich knows how the story began.
-Nice to meet you.
-What a wonderful place this is.
What an extraordinary collection of historic artefacts.
Now, your founder had the wonderful name Jerome Increase Case.
-Tell me about him.
So we often call him JI Case for short
and he was actually born in New York state.
He was a very bright young man
and saw a lot of opportunity to make the farmers' life a lot easier.
And so, in 1842, JI Case headed west to Wisconsin,
the perfect place to turn his ideas into big business.
The Midwest at that time was the big breadbasket of the United States
and where industry meets agriculture.
Right here, you have the Great Lakes, rail hubs,
so that you can transport both equipment
and the grain that you needed to feed the large population out east.
This looks like the oldest piece in your collection. Tell me about that.
Yeah, so this is a threshing machine from the 1860s.
It beats the wheat to separate the straw from the grain.
Before you had this machine, how was that process undertaken?
You would have farmers doing this by hand with flails, beating the grain.
This was a huge improvement.
In the 1840s, when JI Case started the business,
about three quarters of the American population was involved in farming.
It was extremely labour-intensive.
But the threshing machine and other mechanisation,
it greatly reduced the number of people that had to be tied to the land.
So, by the 1870s, it was only about half of the population.
The Industrial Revolution was largely enabled by the advances in
agriculture and mechanisation on the farms.
At the time of my guidebook,
JI Case's company was growing
and diversifying into all manner of farm equipment.
And some of their world-famous tractors are still made here
in Racine at the rate of roughly one every 20 minutes.
Jerome Increase Case was probably aptly named because
the business has mushroomed,
not only in the size of the production line,
but in the size of the vehicles.
Just look at these jumbo tractors!
Plant manager Nate Burgers
has agreed to let me test drive a brand-new, six-cylinder,
280 horsepower tractor.
All right, so this is the final product here,
so let me show you how to get inside this.
Feel free to step right up there.
-Lovely, comfortable machine, actually.
And a little bit of gas.
-Can I put a little bit of gas?
-Go ahead, get it going.
The latest Magnum tractor rolls off the line,
a tribute to Jerome Increase Case.
I'm leaving Wisconsin this morning, bound for Illinois.
Thrilled to be on my way to one of America's greatest cities.
According to Appleton's,
"Chicago ranks next in commercial importance to New York among
"the cities of the United States."
I suspect that Chicago would resent the comparison.
In any case, its response is constant renewal.
New buildings and attractions appear at a dizzying rate,
and it defies any city to match its energy.
-MAN OVER TANNOY:
-Ladies and gentlemen,
in just a moment our next stop will be our final stop -
Union Station, downtown Chicago.
By the time of my guidebook,
Chicago had emerged as the Midwest's major metropolis...
..and North America's greatest railroad centre.
Today, Chicago's Union Station is still at the heart
the United States's passenger rail system.
Appleton's remarks that "the Union depot in Chicago is
"one of the largest and finest in the country."
Even so, it wasn't big enough.
And this extraordinary Parthenon of the railways had to be
constructed at the beginning of the 20th century.
What I get here, more than in any other American railway station,
is that sense that you can travel the length and the breadth
of the continent by train.
There are services from here to New York, to Washington, to San Antonio
in Texas, to Seattle in Washington state, and to Los Angeles -
on trains called Hiawatha, Empire Builder,
Southwest Chief and California Zephyr.
Pure railway nostalgia.
I feel a special excitement when I'm coming to one of
the world's great conurbations - "my kind of town"!
Arriving in Chicago today,
it's impossible not to be awed by its forest of high-rise buildings.
This city has been an architectural innovator for
the last 130 years.
I'm navigating the Chicago River to admire
the city's most striking structures,
and I am boarding with architecture expert Jen Masengarb.
Looking forward to this. After you, Jen.
The modern skyscraper was born here in 1885
when a metal-framed, ten-storey building was completed.
It's no longer standing,
but there's plenty left for architecture buffs.
I suppose the best way to see Chicago's architecture is from the water.
It is. The Chicago River is that sort of lifeblood of the city.
Dominating us now seems to be a lot of glass-sided towers,
This seems to be the big fashion these days.
Even within that, though, you can see different eras in different ways
that the glass was treated or different materials.
One very beautiful thing about
the amount of glass that has been used in the last few decades
is that so much of the city is then reflected in those buildings.
And as you pass by, you get this kaleidoscope of the buildings,
they are all moving as you are moving.
Yeah. One of the earliest buildings to do that is 333 West Wacker.
For many Chicagoans, it's their favourite.
Isn't that beautiful?
One of the sounds of the cities is the trains.
And that sound echoes all along the river.
Union Station is right behind these skyscrapers
and what you see underneath here are the train tracks
with skyscrapers built on top of them
because Chicago developed something called air rights.
That you can actually buy the air of your neighbour's property
and build something on top of them next door.
It seems that the city has remained a playground for architects
to experiment, to innovate.
Mostly the architecture we are seeing along the river is from the 20th century
because the land along the river is precious and what happens often is
that the buildings are demolished to build something larger and something taller.
A skyscraper is a building designed to make the land pay.
In the 19th century, as today,
the high cost of land drove lofty ideas.
The first skyscrapers were built to cope with Chicago's growing labour force
as job-seekers piled into the city.
Thank you for suggesting Federal Plaza because we see here
-a range of Chicago architecture from different vintages.
This lovely building behind us. Tell me about that.
This is the Marquette Building. It was designed in 1894.
The Marquette Building is kind of the epitome,
a classic early Chicago skyscraper.
About 18 to 20 stories, is kind of the typical height.
And when you look at it,
the Marquette Building draws our eye up.
This is a new thought. How does the building meet the sky?
So this generation of architects,
they were really sort of thinking about that crown.
Some borrowing from ancient Greece and Rome,
some stripped of that,
some borrowing more of kind of medieval detail.
Was Chicago a suitable place to build tall buildings?
I think Chicago is probably the worst place to build a skyscraper
because Chicago has incredibly poor soil.
It's like a clay mixture almost.
The New York Times in 1891 likened it to a jelly cake.
And so all the attempts through the 1880s and into the 1890s
are to try to make the walls thinner
and make the building lighter so that it doesn't sink so much
-into our really poor soil.
-That is absolutely extraordinary.
I mean, look at Chicago now. It's absolutely dominated by skyscrapers.
In the late 19th century,
Chicago's skyscrapers were impressive feats of engineering
that expressed the city's triumph over calamity.
Appleton's tells me that in October 1871,
"Chicago was the scene of one of the most destructive conflagrations in history.
"The flames swept with resistless fury.
"The total area destroyed was nearly 3.5 square miles."
This water tower was one of the few buildings to survive.
My Appleton's tells me
the fire originated in a small barn in DeKoven Street.
Today the city's fire academy, on that same site,
is a working memorial to the tragedy.
I am meeting Chicago firefighter Jerry Medina.
Jerry, my Appleton's guidebook gives a description of the fire of 1871
of total destruction.
98,000 homeless, 17,000 buildings destroyed.
-Is that accurate?
-Yes, very accurate.
Sadly, unfortunately, 300 people also died as a result of that fire.
How was it possible for a fire to do so much damage, do you think?
Basically the fire was out of control.
Back then everything was made of wood,
plus there was no rain for several days.
Everything was ready to burn.
Whirlwinds of flame, known as fire devils,
spread the blaze and the terror ever further.
How long did it take to put out?
It took about three days.
The fire actually had to burn itself out.
The flames eventually abated,
leaving a city smouldering with anger.
Rumours about how the fire began flew like cinders,
settling on Irish immigrant Catherine O'Leary.
It was said that as she milked her cow in the barn,
it kicked over a lantern,
but historians have since suggested that her neighbour could have been to blame.
As recently as about 15, 20 years ago,
Mrs O'Leary was found to not to be the actual cause of the fire.
Poor Mrs O'Leary.
The fire was a very long time ago, but is it still, as it were,
part of the culture and heritage of the city?
You can ask a child about what happened in 1871 in Chicago?
Right away, the first thing they will tell you -
the Great Chicago Fire.
So it is a huge, huge part of our history.
Today the city is guarded by the largest fire department in the Midwest.
Its firefighters respond to half a million emergency calls a year.
Lieutenant Brett Snow is showing me what it takes
to become one of Chicago's finest.
Ready to rock and roll.
Into the kneeling position.
-Into the kneeling position. There we go.
-This is kind of like...
-using a firearm, almost, isn't it?
The hose is under enormous pressure.
I'm having to use great force just to keep it under control.
I've got to imagine what it would be like to do this in a blaze
or a terrible emergency,
and think that guys from Chicago
and all over do this every day of their lives.
Wow! Certainly feeling the pressure, Brett,
-it must be quite tiring, this?
-Yeah, it sure is.
If you are not holding it correctly it can really wear you out fast.
I can see that. I'm getting tired just doing this.
And for this hose there's roughly 175 gallons in a minute coming out.
-Let's hope that deals with the fire.
-Thank you, Brett.
-I tell you what, I had a great time.
-You did great.
No fire hose can dampen my enthusiasm for the Chicago skyline.
To see it at its best, I'm making my way to the Willis Tower,
still widely known by its former name - Sears Tower.
For a generation, this was the tallest building in the world.
-WOMAN OVER SPEAKER:
-More than 24 feet per second.
The Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.
1,250 feet and the Empire State Building of New York.
103 floors, 1,350 feet in one minute.
Chicago at sunset.
Surely one of the world's most stunning cities.
One of the most iconic sights in Chicago is
the elevated railway - or L.
They must have saved money,
instead of going underground they build
the railway at first-floor level. Boy, is it noisy.
The earliest sections of the Chicago L date back to 1892,
making this the second-oldest metro system in the United States.
As railroads fanned out across the United States,
they helped to create a shared culture.
And one pastime soon emerged as the nation's favourite.
-MAN OVER SPEAKER:
-Let's play ball.
To investigate the national game,
I'm going to strike out to Joliet, Illinois, base myself there,
although it's not exactly on my home run.
Today baseball is a multibillion dollar industry.
But around the time of my guidebook, it was in need of reform.
At the home of the Joliet Slammers,
I'm hearing how the modern game was born
with baseball historian David Shiner.
David, do you have any theory as to why in the United States
it's baseball that takes over rather than, say, a game like cricket?
Well, you know, Michael, it's seen as an American home-grown game
and it's in the American psyche. It goes the deepest, historically.
Baseball was a game that you could play with any amount of people
at any time, on any kind of a field.
A sport that was easily taken onto the frontier,
you just needed a piece of wood and a ball, and there you go.
The first written rules for baseball date from the 1840s
and the first professional club was established in 1869.
Places like Chicago were no longer frontier towns,
but busy industrial cities.
As the game became professional,
it became more of a game for immigrants,
a game for people from all walks of life.
Frankly, there were a lot more ruffians than gentlemen when
the game became professional,
and that lasted all through the 19th century.
What could be done about the fact that
it was becoming a bit of a rough and tumble game?
Well, it had a lot of negative side effects.
People being beaten up, a lot of gambling, a lot of roughness.
So in 1876,
the first league of clubs was founded
and that was by a Chicago businessmen named William Hulbert.
He started the notion that
owners needed to pay for their clubs to be in the league,
that there would be penalties if they didn't play their games
in a fair way, and that the players, similarly,
could be fined or suspended or even expelled from the game.
And that was very controversial,
but it led to the structure of the National League
that still exists 140 years later,
so I think he has to be given a lot of credit.
On my travels in Europe, I found that cricket and soccer, football,
were very much stimulated by the railways.
-Was that true of baseball?
The railroads were vital to the spread of baseball.
When you have a team having to go from Baltimore to Chicago,
nearly 1,000 miles, the railroads are essential.
People who played amateur ball liked to watch professionals
so it became a spectator sport as well as a participant sport.
In fact, by the time of the National League, often teams would
schedule their games around when the trains arrived.
I'm better suited to being a spectator than a participant,
but I'm game for a go.
-I'm Michael. Sorry to interrupt you.
-It's all right.
-You're a pitcher, aren't you?
-Yes, I am.
I've never pitched in my life. Where does one start?
Where does one start? We start at the mound.
OK, let's go to the mound.
This right here is called the rubber.
So, once you toe the rubber, and you come to your set position, most
pitchers lift their front knee to about a 90 degree angle right here.
And then you go...
-Ooh. Thank you very much.
Fingers should just slide right in there.
On, no, that didn't quite work.
Need to throw it a good deal harder than that.
Go ahead and aim for the batter, Michael...
I don't think pitching is for me, somehow.
I'm hoping for more luck stepping up to the plate with coach
So how do I hold the bat?
Well, you are a right-handed batter,
so you're going to want to put your left-hand at the bottom of the bat
and your right-hand on top of there. You want to get them close together.
If there is any separation it is harder to swing the bat.
You want to start with the bat on your right shoulder.
-On my right shoulder.
-And then as he's throwing the ball,
-then you are going to start swinging.
Oh! There we go.
You're looking like a natural already.
Enough humiliation. I'm out of here.
After that mediocre performance,
back in downtown Chicago,
I was hardly expecting to see my name in lights!
Number 99, it's time to dine. Number 98. Thank you, ma'am.
99. 106. 108, there's no more wait, the food tastes great!
Hello, sir. Welcome to Portillo's.
Thank you very much. I'm on a pilgrimage.
Portillo is my name.
-Yeah, I feel I've come to my spiritual home.
OK, good. Well, welcome. We're glad to have you.
Tell me, what should I eat on my first occasion?
-Italian beef sandwich.
-That sounds good.
-You can do that with peppers.
So we have hot peppers or sweet peppers.
-Hot peppers, OK.
Would you like any cheese on that? Mozzarella or cheddar?
-Any French fries with that?
-We have got fries with cheese.
-No, I think that will be quite enough.
-Thank you. Thank you very much.
So, the founder was called Portillo?
Yes, Dick Portillo.
Wow! And how did he start out?
In 1963 in a trailer, with no running water.
221, your order it out, done! 221.
I see that when they're calling the orders, the girls are making rhymes,
like you do in bingo in Britain.
That's exactly what we do. Do you want to give it a shot?
I'd love to. Thank you very much indeed.
You are a Portillo, no problem. We'll give it a go.
Can I get a short steak and a chocolate shake?
258, your train's never late.
258, your train's never late!
256, the train to the sticks!
Hi, how are you?
You enjoy that now.
247, train to heaven.
283, in the land of the free.
Look at this understated little number.
It's good. Italian beef in a restaurant with a Spanish name.
It's fundamentally American.
At the time of my Appleton's guidebook, Chicago's architects
were not the only ones with celestial aspirations.
Religious fervour swept mid-19th century North America.
In the fast-growing cities,
there were mass conversions and congregations in the thousands.
Here in Chicago,
this Christian evangelism was led by two men
who played a starring role in the heavenly revival.
The guidebook tells me that
"the Great Tabernacle on Munro Street,
"where Messrs Moody and Sankey held their meetings,
"will see 10,000 persons and is used for sacred concerts
"and other religious gatherings."
This more modern church, even today, bears the name of Dwight Moody.
And in the words of the psalm,
I will "enter into his gates with thanksgiving."
# O Jesus is the rock in a weary land
# O Jesus is the rock in a weary land
# A shelter in the time of storm. #
The tradition of sacred concerts is clearly alive
and stomping at the Moody Church.
To discover how music helped to make Moody and Sankey household names,
I'm meeting church member Daniel Favero.
Choir, that was really beautiful.
May I say an enormous thank you to you?
That was magnificent.
Daniel, I have come here in pursuit of Messrs Moody and Sankey.
Who were these gentlemen?
On the vernacular of the day, 1880,
they were called workers in souls.
They were polar opposites in personality and background.
DL Moody was uneducated, he grew up in rural western Massachusetts.
Ira Sankey was the son of a bank president in Philadelphia.
How did two such diverse people meet?
They were both delegates to a YMCA meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana
in 1870, and there was a lull in the meeting.
DL Moody was sort of unconventional -
he hated it when it got boring,
and he said that suddenly a man stood up
and started singing, and that was Ira Sankey.
So DL Moody ran up to him afterwards and he said,
"Come join my ministry in Chicago."
What sort of ministry had Moody had until then, then?
Well, he actually started as a Sunday school teacher
in the neighbourhood of Chicago called Little Hell.
It was a very rough neighbourhood. They called it Little Hell,
they said, because there is nothing there but bad men and worse women.
Moody hoped that Sankey's music
could help him to reach into Chicago's slums.
He believed that to save the inner-city poor,
the message must be accessible.
DL Moody would speak extemporaneously,
he would relate to the audience, but he was very unorthodox.
He would not even preach with notes.
He said, "If I can't keep it in my head,
"I can't expect them to keep it in their head."
Is it fair to think of this as being the start of that
particular brand of American evangelism
-that's known across the world?
-I think so.
In the past, there had been large groups of evangelistic meetings, if you will,
but it was never planned the way these were.
You know, with a large auditorium,
have trained people to pray with people and they walk the aisle,
have contemporary worship music.
All these things were innovations of DL Moody.
A British traveller following my guidebook
might well have already experienced Moody and Sankey's evangelism.
the pair crossed the Atlantic on an international mission.
They were travelling from church to church throughout England, Wales,
-Scotland and Ireland.
-By train, I hope?
By train. They passed out flyers, saying,
"Come hear DL Moody preach the gospel,
"and come hear Ira Sankey sing the gospel."
It started very small, but it grew very quickly.
And by the time they got back to London after their two-year circuit,
in the last seven months,
over two million people came to hear him preach.
Moody and Sankey's British tour offered them both celebrity
On a railway journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh,
Sankey spotted a poem in the newspaper
which sparked perhaps his best-loved hymn.
The Ninety And Nine.
# There were ninety and nine that safely lay
# In the shelter of the fold
# But one was out on the hills away
# Far off from the gates of gold
# Away on the mountains wild and bare
# Away from the tender Shepherd's care
# But all through the mountains, thunder-riven
# And up from the rocky steep
# There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
# "Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"
# And the angels echoed around the throne
# "Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"
# "Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!" #
I found Milwaukee impressive, and it's made a major impact
on America with agricultural machinery and motorcycles -
and on the world, with the development of the typewriter.
Despite that, when I arrived in Chicago, I was aware
of the throbbing power of a metropolis.
This city shrugged off a major conflagration
and architecturally reached for the sky.
Its expansion upwards and outwards continues apace.
Its opulence shimmers from its glass-sided buildings,
reflected in Lake Michigan.
It stands proud and tall at the crossroads of America.
Next time, I gravitate to the ultimate marshalling yard...
So I call this the economy of motion.
..recreate the original brownie...
That is wicked!
Well done, Chef.
..discover the solution to the city's pollution...
Imagine when you have 30,000 cubic feet per second
of sewage coming out into here. It will be beautiful.
A great image.
..and get my hands on the hooter.
People often talk about the smell of steam locomotives.
What about the sound of them?
Michael Portillo is in Milwaukee, the cream city on the shore of Lake Michigan and home to an American icon: the Harley Davidson motorcycle. Michael learns how the first machine was built in 1903 and hitches a ride. German gymnastics is Michael's next challenge as he joins the Ladies' Auxiliary Exercise Class at the Turner Hall, a legacy of Milwaukee's 19th-century German settler community. In Racine, Michael discovers a man who knew how to sort the wheat from the chaff and made a business out of it. Michael is blown away by the skyscrapers in Illinois's Windy City, where he discovers how modern Chicago's skyline replaced a largely wooden city, destroyed in a fire shortly before his Appleton's Guide was published. Michael steps up to the plate with the Joliet Slammers, stars of the US national game of baseball, then sings for his supper at a quintessentially American restaurant bearing his name! Downtown at the Moody Church, Michael tracks down a pair of evangelists who toured Britain and the United States by rail at the time of his guide.