Here's a page from UVA about another William Gilpin, the booster Cronon talks about that was such a fan of the strange Isothermal Zodiac theory... I thought the whole booster phenomenon and the idea of people trying to convince investors, etc. that their city was "destined" to be great was really interesting. What would have happened to Chicago if it weren't for such people? Cronon describes the issues with the water transportation, the flooding, and other seasonal issues. One has to wonder if people would have stuck it out long enough for Chicago to become a center for commerce if it had not been for the boosters.