Young was born in Evanston. He is a former writer and transportation editor for the Chicago Tribune.
David M. Young is an American journalist. He was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune from 1963-1983 and has been an editorial writer since 1983.
Fill the heavens with commerce: Chicago aviation, 1855-1926
Chicago Review Press. 1981
Fill the heavens with commerce: Chicago aviation, 1855-1926
Chicago Transit: An Illustrated History
Northern Illinois University Press. 1998
Combining nostalgia and historical detail, David Young tells the colorful story of transportation in Chicago, from the plank roads of the 1850s to the streetcar straphangers of the 1920s to the articulated buses of the 1990s. Illustrated with more than 90 photographs and maps, Chicago Transit reveals the political shenanigans, business deals, and technological changes behind the transportation system that made Chicago "the city that works."
Chicago Maritime: An Illustrated History
Northern Illinois University Press. 2001
This lavishly illustrated history of Chicago as freight handler to the nation chronicles the vital role of waterborne trade and transportation in building a metropolis on the swampland that the Illiniwek once called Checagou. Louis Jolliet, the first European explorer to the area, recognized that a waterway between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River could link the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, making Checagou the fulcrum of east-west and north-south transportation for the continent. Upon completion of the I&M Canal in 1848, Chicago quickly became one of the busiest ports in the world, attracting thousands of schooners, barks, sloops, and paddle-wheel steamships.
More than 100 illustrations and maps—along with tales of majestic sailing ships, piracy, terrible storms, and tragic shipwrecks—portray the eventful history of Chicago's waterways. Young describes the reversal of the Chicago River, which helped to clean the city and flood it with new life. Chicago flourished as a port of entry to the West and transportation hub, despite the disastrous Great Fire of 1871 that destroyed much of the city, including the docks and ships moored along the Chicago River. Marine disasters took their toll, too, as when the Eastland capsized in 1915, drowning nearly 900 passengers.
Through narratives by two famous travelers of Chicago's waterways, Charles Dickens and Abraham Lincoln, Young reveals the hardships and small comforts of lake and river travel in its heyday. He also tells of Chicago's marine traditions, such as the eagerly anticipated arrival of ships bearing Christmas trees that drew holiday crowds to the docks each year.
Today, giant car ferries and enormous ore carriers larger than battleships ply the lakes alongside luxury yachts, while the rivers that feed Chicago—and allow Chicago to feed the world—are still lively with traffic. Chicago's geographic advantages, which allowed it to eclipse competitors in the age of sail and steam, assure that it will remain a vital center for American transportation and commerce in the twenty-first century.
Chicago Aviation: An Illustrated History
Northern Illinois University Press. 2003
From the dawn of flight, Chicago has played a vital role in the development of aviation. Favored by geography and a superb network of railroads, the Windy City rapidly became the nation's crossroad. Young's richly illustrated history portrays the inventors, entrepreneurs, and aviators who conquered the skies and made Chicago the nation's premier hub for air travel and transport.
Aviation's colorful figures come to life as Young recounts tales of the pilots, patrons, and passengers who sparked public interest in the early days of flight. Beginning with Chicago's first aviation event—a balloon ascension on July 4, 1855—Young traces the local personalities and technologies that helped make the dream of flight a reality. He offers the most complete account to date of pioneer Chicago aviator Octave Chanute, whose series of daring glider experiments led to international attention and a friendship with the Wright brothers, who sought his advice before their landmark flight at Kitty Hawk.
The Windy City's golden age of aviation began in 1910, when a group of wealthy flying enthusiasts formed the Aero Club of Illinois. Fascinated audiences flocked to see the club's spectacular aviation shows and to visit Cicero Field, the place where many of America's first aviators learned to fly. Prominent public figures of the day included Harold McCormick, the millionaire patron of early aviation Charles "Pop" Dickinson, who gained fame as the nation's oldest pilot and Katherine Stinson, who at Cicero Field became the first woman to perform the loop-the-loop maneuver.
Dozens of devastating air crashes over the years fueled America's early fear of flying. Chicago witnessed its share of air tragedies, from the Wingfoot blimp disaster of 1919 that caused the city to consider a ban on flying over its borders to the 1979 crash of a DC-10 jumbo jet at O'Hare that helped doom the career of that airplane. As Young investigates these crashes—as well as the mysterious legend of the "Great Lakes Triangle"—he sheds light on the evolution of airline safety.
Aviation progress in a major city inevitably involves the continuous, often contentious, campaign for bigger and better airports. Young analyzes Midway's birth, death, and rebirth as well as the city's decision in the late 1960s to build a new runway at O'Hare, which caused a political furor over noise in the suburbs. At the end of the twentieth century, statewide controversy erupted again over the decision to reconfigure O'Hare, renewing the debate over airport expansion.
Engagingly written and strikingly illustrated, Chicago Aviation is the only comprehensive history of the city's crucial contributions to the first century of powered flight.
The Iron Horse and the Windy City: How Railroads Shaped Chicago
Northern Illinois University Press. 2005
With the coming of railroads, upstart Chicago quickly became the Midwest's center for commerce and trade, overtaking its older rival, St. Louis. The first tracks to link the East coast with the West ran through Chicago, and within a few decades the city grew to be the hub of an immense transportation network that stretched across the nation.
Noted transportation writer David M. Young vividly tells how railroads created and shaped Chicago, from the earliest times to the present. He shows how the expansion of rail lines promoted the growth of the suburbs, and how Chicago's burgeoning manufacturing hub became home to such corporate giants as Cyrus McCormick's harvester operation and catalogue houses Montgomery Ward Spiegel and Sears, Roebuck and Company. For the most part, the railroad companies that schemed to bypass Chicago failed.
As the hub of a vast transportation network, Chicago experienced many tragic accidents at rail crossings. One of the first books to deal with the history of accidents and issues of safety, The Iron Horse and the Windy City reveals how Chicago eventually forced railroad companies to eliminate dangerous crossings by installing barriers or by raising tracks above street level.
Railroad magnates, entrepreneurs, and ordinary people come to life in this first comprehensive account of the impact of railroads on Chicago. Transportation historians and general readers interested in Chicago will find it both essential and engaging.