While simply searching for informations how Chicago Midway looked like in the Thirties, I came across of the astonishing project about Chicago Orchard Airport (now O'Hare) elaborated in 1948. Amazing are the ten (!) runways disposed in all directions.
Master plan of Chicago Orchard (Douglas) Airport by Ralph H. Burke (January 1948)
(Source: Chicago Tribune)
Just for fun what it roughly could have been with FS9:
BTW, O'Hare was the site of the world's first jet bridge in 1958.
In case you haven’t come across this one yet on Flickr. This gentleman has over 4,000 pictures of Midway airport from its beginnings to today with a large number of aerials from every decade a lot of ramp and hanger shots from our classic period. Been using them to redo Midway in the late 50s and was thinking of doing the early 30s as well.
The tangential runway system was quite a popular idea in the late 1940s and beyond. It was even put into practice at some large airports, to various degrees. Remnants can still be seen at for instance ORD, JFK (interesting article + feedback here) and AMS. I have seen wild designs with even more runways than suggested for ORD, although I cannot find images for them online right now.
Although the idea was interesting, it does not work with today's traffic volumes. I suppose it did not then either, which is probably why such systems did not last long even if initially commissioned. Safety becomes a problem with converging and potentially crossing flight paths of arrivals, departures and missed approaches. Or put differently, to keep it safe especially in limited visibility, capacity drops considerably with such a runway pattern layout. That is why modern airports are almost invariably designed (or existing ones expanded) with parallel runways/runway sets. Put very simply, aircraft flying parallel to each other will not collide.
Last Edit: Mar 20, 2020 17:25:14 GMT -5 by Erik: typo