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Windy City Historians Podcast
85 minutes | Jul 6, 2022
Episode 28 – WWI & Chicago Transformed
Hear from author Joe Gustaitis as we discuss how World War I transformed Chicago from a strongly German city into a modern metropolis.
58 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
Episode 27 – The Great Migration
In American history, we were taught that pioneers and homesteaders moved from east to west settling the continent in the greater pursuit of “Manifest Destiny” -- killing and obfuscating the First Nations peoples' way of life. However, another American pattern often overlooked is the migration from south to the north. Starting less than a century after a Black man of Haitian decent named Jean Baptiste Point DeSable became Chicago’s first non-indigenous settler; African Americans in large numbers began leaving southern States and moving to the north, which historians now call “The Great Migration”. Their motives were that of people everywhere seeking jobs, opportunity, and a better life. Northern States offered jobs and a relief from the weight of Jim Crow. For many Chicago had became a beacon of hope as Black-owned newspapers and in particular the “Chicago Defender”, distributed by Pullman Porters, gave hope to generations of former slaves, farmers, and sharecroppers. Beginning as early as the 1880s and then from approximately 1910 to the 1970, rural southern Blacks by the thousands made their way north throughout these decades. And, just as the journey changed them, their music, culture, and customs changed Chicago. Northern cities, and Chicago in particular, were not always welcoming, as decent housing was scarce as restrictive covenants and red-lining forced African Americans to live in "The Black Belt”. This tightly constrained strip of blocks on the city's south side, initially between 22nd and 31st Streets, later extending south to 39th and eventually to 95th Street and roughly sandwiched between the railroad tracks of the Rock Island on the west and Illinois Central to the east. But even with forced segregation, many black businesses thrived, and a sense of place was established creating Bronzeville and its famous “Stroll”. Join the Windy City Historians as we delve into the Great Migration with Dr. Charles Brahnam, author and professor, and the perfect guide to take us on a journey into the Great Migration. A trip populated by famous brave and fearless black Chicagoans such as Ida B. Wells, Oscar DePriest, and Robert S. Abbott and into a better understand of this massive cultural shift for the nation and Chicago in particular. King Oliver Jazz Band Links to Research and Historic Sources: "The Long-Lasting Legacy of the Great Migration", by Isabel Wilkerson for Smithsonian Magazine, Sept. 2016Great Migration from Encyclopedia of Chicago websiteDr. Charles Russell Branham interview on C-SpanSteve Green story from the Arkansas Encyclopedia websiteIllinois Gov. Len Small from Wikipedia (Please note in our interview we say he was governor, but at the time of the Steve Green story he was involved in Illinois politics but not yet governor.)Ida B Wells: WTTW Chicago StoriesIda B. Wells biography from the Black Past websiteIda B. Wells-Burnett biography from the Women's History websiteFerdinand Lee Barnett's biography from the Black Past websiteRobert S Abbott biography on WikipediaOscar Stanton De Priest biography on WikipediaEdward Herbert Wright biography on WikipediaJesse Binga biography on WikipediaCarter G. Woodson biography on WikipediaChicago Race Riot of 1919 on WikipediaJim Crow laws from Wikipedia"History of Lynching in America" from the NAACP websiteA recommended book, THE DEFENDER: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama By Ethan MichaeliBoll weevil devastation from WikipediaPullman Porters from WikipediaThe Jones Boys, "From Riots to Renaissance: Policy Kings" from WTTW's websiteThe Incredible History and Cultural Legacy of the Bronzeville Neighborhood from Chicago Detours websiteExplore Bronzeville from the Blueprint for Bronzeville websiteBooker T. Washington biography from WikipediaThe South Side's Last Remaining Jazz Landmarks article from Chicago Magazine Thomas A.
89 minutes | Jan 28, 2022
Episode 26 – 1909
In 1909 Chicago changed dramatically both physically and intellectually. Having grown through fits and starts via annexation and experiencing the most rapid population growth of any city in history, to that point, the Chicago City Council approved a new street and address system in 1908. The new address system took effect in 1909 and employed the Philadelphia and furlong systems to renumber, rename, and rationalize street names and addresses across the city. 1909 also ushered in a momentous intellectual shift in perceptions of what Chicago was and could be. Authored by architects Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett The Plan of Chicago offered an idyllic and revolutionary vision for Windy City that still resonate. Join us in this episode as we interview cartographer, historian, and geographer Dennis McClendon to delve into these concrete and esoteric plans that forever changed the physicality and vision of Chicago. Plans and improvements that are still relevant and reverberate acros Chicago's streets, city planning, development and architecture to this day. Edward Brennan in 1926Excerpt from the Street Renaming Directory of 1909Bird's eye view rendering from The Plan of ChicagoMap of the central business district from The Plan of ChicagoDaniel Burnham & Edward Bennett Links to Research and Historic Sources: More about cartographer, historian, & geographer Dennis McClendonHistory of 3-principal mapping companies in the U. S.: Rand McNally, H.N. Gousha, and General DraftingEdward Brennan, author of Chicago's street renaming and renumbering systemPhiladelphia Street Numbering system explainedFurlong system explainedOverview of the "Roads and expressways in Chicago" in Wikipedia"Old Addresses" article on the pre-1909 addresses from the Forgotten Chicago websiteChicagoland Books & Files including the Chicago Street Renaming & Renumbering Directories of 1909 from the Living History of Illinois websiteMilwaukee's Street Renaming & Renumbering from the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee websiteOverview of The Plan of Chicago from the Chicago Architecture Center websiteBiography of Daniel Burnham from the Chicago Public Library website"Who was Edward Bennett? And why has he been overshadowed for a century by Daniel Burnham?" by Patrick Reardon on the Burnham Plan Centennial websiteWacker's Manual as described by the Chicago Architecture Center website"'Big Bill' Thompson: Chicago's unfiltered mayor," by Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune article Feb. 5, 2016Chicago's Midway (formerly Municipal) Airport history from the Encyclopedia of Chicago "Chicago's Municipal Pier," (#2, now Navy Pier) from Chicagology websiteNortherly Island from the Chicago Architecture Center website"Displaced: When the Eisenhower Expressway Moved in Who Was Moved Out?" by Robert Loerzel from the WBEZ websiteMcMillan Plan for the Washington D.C. "mall" from WikipediaChicago's Millennium Park from Wikipedia
56 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
Episode 25 – A Book and A Beer: George Ade and the Old-Time Saloon
The path to riches is not often associated with journalism, but in the case of George Ade, writing for Chicago newspapers was his road to wealth and fame. Ade, (1866-1944) who was born and raised in Kentland, Indiana, attended Purdue University and then came to Chicago to work as a reporter in the heydays of newspapers. Today George Ade is rarely remembered, with his books out of print, and decades since his musical comedies were performed. But from the 1890s to the early 20th century, he was compared to Mark Twain, a friend of his, and had not just one, but two hit plays on Broadway at the same time. Ade earned so much money from his successful books, plays and syndicated newspaper columns, he built an English Tutor on a 400-acre estate in Indiana, named Hazelden. There Ade threw big parties and was visited there by U.S. Presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Calvin Coolidge. In fact, Taft began his Presidential campaign of 1908 from Hazelden. Ade's name lives on through his philanthropy, like the donation of 65 acres, with fellow alum David E. Ross, to Purdue University, for a football stadium in 1924, which is now known as Ross-Ade Stadium. What was true then about Ade’s writing is also true now, and that is Ade’s stories are hilarious. His final book “The Old Time Saloon” (1931) is laugh-out-loud funny and a recent edition from the University of Chicago Press is annotated by Bill Savage. Bill Savage, Ph.D. is a professor of English at Northwestern University and our guide through not only the work “The Old-Time Saloon: Not Wet - Not Dry, Just History” and this podcast. Dr. Savage paints a picture of the Chicago Ade knew from the high-class Saloons downtown to the more seedy establishments frequented by his friend, Finely Peter Dunne, whose literary bartender, Martin T. Dooley, delighted a nation with his quips. Writers like Ade and Dunne started out as journalists, and along the way captured the rhythms of speech and the vernacular of the working man, and in doing so gave birth to a new type of literature. A style practiced later by authors such as James Farrell, Nelson Algren, Mike Royko and Stuart Dybek. We hope you will enjoy this dive into Chicago's literary and drinking past. Links to Research and Historic Sources: The book, The Old-Time Saloon by George Ade Chicago writer and author George Ade (1866-1944)Ross-Ade Stadium at Purdue UniversityNorthwestern Professor of English Bill Savage, Ph.D.Hazelden (George Ade House) in Brook, IndianaChicago writer and author Peter Finley Dunne (1867-1937)Mr.Dooley on the Immigration Problem (1898) adapted from the writings of Finley Peter Dunne, performed by Alexander Kulcsar.“Who’s Your Chinaman?”: The Origins Of An Offensive Piece Of Chicago Political Slang By Monica EngEra of "Hinky Dink" Kenna and "Bathhouse John” Coughlin from the Encyclopedia of Chicago"Mickey Finn: The Chicago Bartender Who Infamously Drugged And Robbed Patrons With Laced Drinks," By Natasha Ishak Published September 24, 2019The Everleigh Club from WikipediaChicago Daley News Building (Riverside Plaza) from WikipediaDouglas Copeland’s novel “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”Straw Hat Ettiquette from the Vintage Dancer websiteLiz Garibay's website: History on Tap"The Dry Season" by Steve Rhodes, published June 22, 2007 in Chicago MagazineThe book, The World Is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood (Chicago Visions and Revisions) by Carlo Rotella (2019)Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap from the Chicago Bar Project websiteAmerican novelist and journalist, Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) in WikipediaWriter, poet, and author, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)The book Native Son by Richard Wright (1908-1960)Studs Lonigan: A Trilogy by James T. Farrell (1904-1979)American novelist and short story writer Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) in WikipediaAmerican writer Nelson Algren (1909-1981) in WikipediaChicago: City on the ...
43 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
Episode 24 – Bonus: Working on the Railroad
October is Railroad history month in Chicago. Although we already released Episode 24 - The Railroads in honor of railroads history month there was too much good stuff to stop there.
71 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Episode 24 – The Railroads
For 150 years, Chicago has remained the country's busiest rail hub at the center of the nation’s rail network. In all, 40 railroads provide services from Illinois to every part of the United States and all seven of the major North American freight railways converge in Chicago to make it the largest US rail gateway. Moving anything coast-to-coast by rail is almost guaranteed to pass through Chicago. In 2011, Illinois ranked first in the US for rail freight volume accounting for 490.4 million tons. Today, the state is the world’s third most active rail intermodal hub with 25% of U.S. freight rail traffic and 46% of all intermodal traffic beginning, ending or traveling through Chicago. Each day, nearly 500 freight trains and 760 passenger trains pass through the Chicago region, moving the goods and people that are the life blood of the national economy. In this episode we talk with retired train engineer and rail historian David Daruszka to discuss Chicago's rail history from its founding in 1848 to its peak in the 1940s and on into today's operations. Though the waterways established Chicago the railroads soon became a key connector and transfer link to the continent from east to west and north to south. The development of Chicago from a frontier town into a world-class city could not have happened as it did without the railroads. Chicago became and arguably still is the greatest railroad center in the world. We hope you enjoy this journey into Chicago's railroad history. Map of Railroads in and out of ChicagoLocomotive "The Pioneer"Stock CertificateGrand Crossing in 1902Map of the Illinois Central RailwayPlaque commemorating the railroad establishing Standard TimeUnion StockyardColumbian Expostion Train Station in 1893Roundhouse at the Calumet YardPullman Porter Museum in ChicagoPullman Car InteriorPullman Car at the Illinois Railway MuseumEarly Refrigerated Car Links to Research and Historic Sources: "Transportation that Built Chicago: the importance of the railroads" from the Curbed Chicago websiteChicago's Grand Crossing neighborhood and railroad crossing in WikipediaPullman Porters from the History Channel websiteC-Span Book Talk with Larry Tye author of the book Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class (2004)"Why Was Casey Jones an American Folk Hero?" from the History Channel websiteSamuel Insull history and bio on WikipediaRelocating the tracks at Midway Airport from the Digital Research Library of Illinois History JournalChicago Railroad Fair narrated 1948 home video on YouTubeChicago Railroad Fair Color Home Movies 1948Film of "Wheels A Rolling" musical history of trains from the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948/49 on YouTubeOperation Lifesaver offers school and community group presentations on RR crossing safety"Stand by Me" (1986) movie clip of the Train bridge sceneArticle on Chicago's last roundhouse "NKP's Calument Yard, Coaling Tower, Roundhouse, Turntable" on the Industrial History websiteChicago Railroad Stations from Chicagology.comLink to railroad historian Fred Ash's book Chicago Union StationFreight Rail Overview from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration website
62 minutes | May 30, 2021
Episode 23 – Reversing the Chicago River
Native Americans held great respect for natural systems while also managing the landscape to support their people and way of life. As "civilization" came to this area Chicago became a military outpost, village, city and metropolis and its residents were confronted with the elemental and reoccurring issue of controlling water -- both fresh and waste water. Managing this cycle of use and renewal the city has over the decades repeatedly invested millions into various projects to drain the land, process waste, and modify the waterways for both sanitation and navigation. These major projects have included altering waterways, building canals, tunnels, and water works and treatment facilities to make the greater Chicago area livable and comfortable on a day-to-day basis for the millions of residents and annual visitors each year. In this episode we will discuss how Chicago came to not only reverse the Y-shaped river running through its downtown, but also the precedents and solutions to regulate fresh water, sewage, flooding, and growing needs of the population. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) formerly known as The Sanitary District was created in 1889 to manage the area's water resources and was tasked with building the Sanitary & Ship Canal to protect Lake Michigan and our source for drinking water. Toward this end we speak with Dick Lanyon who is an author, historian and retired MWRD engineer to explain this amazing story of political power and engineering genius that created the evolving regional system of water management for Chicagoland. Ellis S. Chesbrough (1813-1886)Drawing of building the water intake cribs in ChicagoDigging of the Sanitary & Ship CanalTemporary dam on the South Fork of the Chicago RiverWork on the embankmentWork on shore pilingsRemoval of the center-pier of a swing bridge in the riverA dredge at workWork on a rock section of the Sanitary & Ship CanalCanal workPreparing to fill in the canal near the stockyardsTowing barges on the canal Links to Research and Historic Sources: Books by retired MWRD engineer and historian Richard LanyonHistory of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District from their websiteBiography of engineer Elis S. Chesbrough from the ASCE websiteHistory of the Chicago Water Cribs from the Industrial History website posted Feb. 3, 2016
56 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Episode 22 – Eyewitness to History: From the Pullman Strike to H.H. Holmes
Looking back on historical events, whether it is the Civil War or the Chicago Fire, they are usually presented in isolation, a individual events separated by subject, pinned to a specific date or period of time. Yet, history is not nearly so neat and tidy, and to someone who lived through those times, it becomes part of the greater tapestry of life. With this in mind our latest and 22nd episode of the Windy City Historians podcast “Eyewitness to History" approaches this historical journey following the experiences of Chicago policeman, John E. Fitzpatrick (1852-1902). As a Patrol Sergeant Fitzpatrick was present at the Haymarket Bombing of 1886, rose rapidly through the ranks to soon attain the position of Inspector and lead the honor guard for President Cleveland for the opening ceremonies of the Columbian Exposition of 1893. A year later, Inspector Fitzpatrick would be embroiled in a chaotic summer due to the Pullman Railroad Strike, and the following year is assigned as lead detective on the H.H. Holmes serial murder cases that shocked a nation. A century later, these remarkable stories and adventures were unearthed by his great-great-granddaughter and our guest, Kim Fitzpatrick. Based on Kim's diligent research we uncover the life and times of John E. Fitzpatrick and present this fascinating and personal history of his decorated Chicago Police career. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed learning the Fitzpatricks' story. Note: This episode was updated on May 4, 2021 to correct a missing "great" to Kim Fitzpatrick's relation and great-great grandfather John E. Fitzpatrick. John E. FitzpatrickKim FitzpatrickNewspaper sketch of Inspector FitzpatrickThe Raising of Chicago buildingsGeorge PullmanChief Francis O'NeillUnion Leader Eugene V. DebsDebs CartoonIllinois Gov. John Peter AltgeldPullman Car InteriorReplica of the Lincoln Funeral Pullman CarWreckage from the Johnstown FloodPullman Strike Scene Links to Research and Historic Sources: John E. Fitzpatrick obituary, Chicago Tribune, Mar. 27, 1902Opening Day of the Columbian Exposition: May 1st, 1893, a series of articles on The World's Fair website posted in April 2018The Time They Lifted Chicago Fourteen Feet, on the enjoy Illinois website posted Dec. 3, 2018 The Lincoln Funeral Train, on the Illinois History & Lincoln Collections blog posted Aug. 30, 2019The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough published Jan. 15, 1987Johnstown Flood Memorial, National Park Service website H.H. Holmes (1861 - 1896), on Wikipedia on this serial killer also chronicled in the book belowDevil in the White City, by Erik Larson"How a Deadly Railroad Strike Led to the Labor Day Holiday," by Sarah Pruitt posted Aug. 27, 2019 on the History Channel websiteThe Pullman Strike 1894 history on the Kansas Heritage websiteHistoric Pullman Foundation websiteChief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant websiteA Harvest Saved: Francis O'Neill and Irish Music in Chicago, by Nicholas Carolan published April 1997Francis O'Neill: The Police Chief Who Saved Irish Music, on WTTW's Chicago Stories websitePullman Strike, by Melvin I. Urofsky on Encyclopedia Britannica websitePullman National Monument on the Nation Parks Service websiteAdam Selzer astonishing Chicago website by this historian, author and tour guidePresident Obama dedicates the Pullman Site a national monument on YouTube posted on July 21, 2016"The Rise and Fall of the Sleeping Car King," by Jack Kelly, Jan. 11, 2019 on Smithsonian Magazine website
75 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Episode 21 – The Third Star – part III
As we conclude this three-part mini-series on the Columbian Exposition of 1893, we talk about a few favorite exhibits and stories about the Fair, connections that exist still, and relevancy of the World's Fair today. A major event for Chicago and honored by a star on the Chicago Flag the Fair brought Chicago and the United States to the world stage to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus coming to America. Join us as we speak with Paul Durica the Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry Library and historian and writer Jeff Nichols. And to complete this show, co-host Chris Lynch shares additional stories and connections with this World's Fair culled from his research on the topic. Join us for a fascinating ride through Windy City history on this episode about the Chicago Columbian Exposition and World's Fair of 1893. Map of the FairFair visitors on the Midway PlaisanceA belly dancer from the Streets of Cairo ExhibitThe dancer Little Egypt, stellar attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition The first electric moving-sidewalk The Japanese pavilion1894 ruins of the FairA image of the destroyed Fair grounds after the 1894 fire Links to Research and Historic Sources: A history of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, link to this four volume set in Hathi TrustPanic of 1893 in WikipediaThe Columbian Museum and history of the Field Museum from their websiteFrederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect of the Columbian Exposition in Encyclopedia Britannica"The Man Behind the Man Behind Oz: W. W. Denslow at 150," by Michael Patrick Hern, July 5, 2006 on the AIGA website.Harriet Monroe (1860 - 1936) a biography on the Poetry Foundation websiteLumpen Radio - community radio station located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago at 105.5 FMAunt Jemima and the Pearl Milling CompanyJohn Phillips Sousa a biography on the Library of Congress websiteThomas Edison film in 1896 of Little Egypt on YouTubeMusic Lesson: The Streets of Cairo from Larsen Halleck on YouTube
61 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Episode 20 – The Third Star – part II
We continue our discussion of Chicago's first World's Fair to learn why carousels were risque, the Ferris Wheel encouraged voyeurism, Columbus was cool, and unfortunately racism was the norm. In addition, the 1893 World's Fair was a launching pad for many new products, industries, and processes that were promoted, were popularized or invented as a result of the Fair, like the Post Card, Cracker Jacks, the Zipper, and many more. In this second World's Columbian Exposition episode, we talk with historian and Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry Library Paul Durica, to explore the various exhibits, tone, and tenor of the Fair and Chicago in 1893. Plus, additional snippets from our interview with historian Jeff Nichols. This World's Fair transformed a swampy patch of lakefront, which is now Jackson Park on Chicago's south side, and remnant lagoons and three harbors still exist there today. Besides these physical remainders of the Fair, this historic exhibition also marked Chicago history through the gathering of many influential people and ideas from around the world. This Fair was the impetus for the sharing of world cultures and intermixing of peoples and traditions that still impacts us today. Join us on this episode for more fascinating stories surrounding the World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893. Ida B. WellsFrederick DouglassThe MidwayThe Liberal Arts BuildingTurkish Village ExhibitionThe Electricity HallRickshaws on the Midway PlaisanceThe Administration BuildingThe electrified Court of Honor of the White City Links to Research and Historic Sources: Chicago Tribune May 4, 2017 article, "Take a 'walking tour' of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition -- the 'White City'"Chicago by Day and Night, edited by Paul Durica and Bill SavageThe Midway Airport HistoriansChicago: City on the Make, by Nelson AlgrenThe Auditorium Theatre a national historic landmark"Life at the Infamous Civil War Libby Prison," by Holly GoodbeyThe History of the CarouselThe Making of the Modern U.S. website, "Chicago's World's Fair 1893" about the significance of electrification at the FairPotter PalmerIda B. Wells-Barnett, by Arlisha R. Norwood on the National Women's History Museum websiteFrederick Douglass (c. 1818 - 1895) on the Biography websiteThe Redman's Rebuke, by Simon PokagonStuds Lonigan, by James T. Farrell Julian Hawthorne (1846 - 1934) the American writer and journalist and son fo the novelist Nathaniel HawthorneSteele McKaye actor, playwright, and inventor of the World's biggest TheaterEadweard Muybridge (1830 - 1904) known for pioneering work on motion and early motion picturesFrances Hodgson Burnett author of several children's novels including The Secret Garden (1911) Museum of Science and Industry todayThe building on the right as it was at the Columbian Exposition in 1893
61 minutes | Jan 27, 2021
Episode 19 – The Third Star – Part I
In 1893, Chicago is host to one of the most recognized and internationally famous world fairs, which honors the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in America. Granted it was a year later than planned, but it became known for the advancement and development of many companies and ideas. A specially built exposition landscape was created south of the then city limits in Jackson Park in what was the neighboring township of Hyde Park, which was annexed in 1891. The White City as this world's fair became know was the first major use of electricity, which lit the World's Columbian Exposition buildings and grounds from May 1st until October 30, 1893. This Fair is legendary to Chicago history and commemorated by the third star in the Chicago Flag. With our previous episode we learned about the many things that occurred in Chicago in 1893 and here we dive into the Fair and interview historian and writer Jeff Nichols with some snippets from a future interview with historian Paul Durica. This is the first installment in a three part mini-series on the World's Columbian Exposition and the White City. We hope you will enjoy it. Balloon on the Midway PlaisanceCover for Sheet Music from the FairCircus performers on the Midway PlaisanceThe U.S. Government Building at the FairColumbian Exposition Ferris WheelThe White City Links to Research and Historic Sources: The World's Fair Chicago 1893 website offers a great collection of information about the Fair.A Bird's Eye view of the World's Columbian Exposition is a great digital map on the Library of Congress' digital archivesA link to Jeff Nichols author page, including articles in the Chicago ReaderPaul Durica's Pocket Guide to Hell, i.e. ChicagoA history of the Alley L initiated for 1893 Chicago World's FairA history of the City Beautiful movementThe H. H. Holmes Hotel constructed by the infamous serial killer made popular in The Devil in the White City by Eric Larsen Frederick Douglass' speech at the World's Columbian Exposition A history on Ellis Bennett from the Chicago Reader, "A Story of Squatters' Rights, a House from the World's Fair, and a Remarkably Stubborn Man" by Jeff NicholsThe book World's Fair Notes: A Woman Journalist Views Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition, by Marion ShawAn article on "Buffalo Bill Goosed the World's Fair," by Matt BraunAlderman Johnny Powers"The War of the Currents" between Thomas Edison and Nicholas Tesla and the lighting the World's Columbian ExpositionThe New York Times review of the new biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
61 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Episode 18 – The Year 1893
For most historians if you mention Chicago and the year 1893, they will immediately think of the World’s Colombian Exposition. However, there was much more going on in Chicago during that year that still resonates today. Beyond the excitement surrounding the Fair, 1893 was pivotal for the many new contributions, innovations, and changes that impacted the city and beyond. Many Chicago institutions we know today are tied to or originated during that year. A short list would include the first Chicago Cubs stadium, the tamale, the hot dog, Wrigley chewing gum, and much more. This monumental year holds many interesting stories well beyond the White City as a backdrop that was in direct contrast with Chicago’s work-a-day world, some would call “Gray City.” Join us in this episode for the extraordinary changes and important events of 1893, as we speak with historian and author Joe Gustaitis to set the scene for an upcoming episode focused on the Colombian Exposition and the White City. author Findley Peter Dunne author Henry Blake Fuller author George Ade Marshall Field Busy State Street c.1893 Swami Vivekananda Three successive buildings of the Marshall Field & Company Store on State Street The very first World’s Parliament of Religions held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1893 West Side Grounds from 1906 World Series Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox Links to Research and Historic Sources: 1893, Chicago’s Greatest Year, by Joseph Gustaitis Chicago Literary Renaissance, Encyclopedia of Chicago A History of Midland Authors, Part 1, by Robert Loerzel on the Society of Midland Authors Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893, from the Harvard University’s Pluralism Project Bio of Swami Vivekananda who brought Yoga to the United States Bio of Julius Rosenwald Marshall Field & Company State Street Stores, Chicaogology Bio of Hamlin Garland who helped create The Attic Club, which two years later was renamed The Cliff Dwellers Club Selfridge’s History of the Vienna Beef Co. The history of Chicago National League Ball Parks including the West Side Grounds on Chicagology General Santa Anna and chicle Chicle the natural chewing gum History of the Wrigley Company, from the Made In Chicago website Francis Willard House Museum & Archives in Evanston, IL Women’s (Bike) History Month: Francis Willard, by Liz Murphy Cycling in Chicago, by Chris McAuliffe as reviewed by Zachary Schuster in Cyclocross Magazine
59 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Episode 17 – The Haymarket
Why is May Day a holiday celebrated all over the world, but not in the United States? The answer is piece of Chicago history pointing to the events culminating at Haymarket Square on May 4th, 1886.
60 minutes | Aug 23, 2020
Episode 16: The Second Star – The Fire
There is one story well-known throughout the world about the Windy City and a cow kicking over a lantern that set the Great Chicago Fire in motion. The fact that the story of Catherine O'Leary's cow is totally false seems not to matter, as this wrong-headed legend continues to perpetuate itself with the general public. As the newspaper editor Dutton Peabody says in the 1952 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” And so it is, a hundred and fifty years later, Mrs. O’Leary and her cow live on in popular culture. The events of the evening of October 8th, 1871 would be the culmination of a prolonged hot, dry summer in the Midwest, and when Chicago began to burn, there were fires burning in several other places as well. However. Chicago and the legend of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow eclipsed the reporting of the other fires, and stuck in the popular imagination. The Great Chicago Fire became the second star on the flag of Chicago, a marked tragedy, as approximately one-third of the residents lost their homes and the more than 300 who lost their lives. But the fire was also considered a beginning for Chicago, a reset, a blank slate -- that would allow the city’s business leaders and architects to imagine a new and better Chicago to rise from the ashes like a great phoenix. In this episode, the Windy City Historians interview William Pack, a historian and author of “The Essential Great Chicago Fire” (2015) to recount the events of that faithful Sunday night when smoke was spotted southwest of the city center, near the intersection of Jefferson and DeKoven Streets. It is an illuminating story of mistakes, delays, human error, and heroism, and a transformative event for the young city on the prairie that became the "City on the Make" as later chronicled by Nelson Algren. Two days after the fire co-owner and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune Joseph Medill wrote, “We have lost money, but we have saved life, health, vigor and industry. Let the watchword henceforth be Chicago shall rise again!” In December of that year Medill would be elected mayor of the City of Chicago as a candidate of the "fireproof" party serving two terms from 1871 to 1873. Links to Research and Historic Sources: Presenter, magician, and interviewee William Pack's Educational ProgramingDraft of the Emancipation Proclamation Signed by President Abraham Lincoln destroyed in the Chicago FireChicago History Museum's online collection about the Great Chicago FireOut of the Ashes: The Birth of the Chicago Public Library"My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s Greatest Challenge: The Chicago Fire" by Caroline Thompson, Chicago Magazine, Oct. 10, 2017The release of prisoners and a "Fragile note illuminates city's great fire," by Mark Lebien, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 2, 1998.The documentary, Chicago Drawbridges we pull a segment from for this podcast courtesy of co-producers Stephen Hatch & Patrick McBriartyThe 1938 Movie “In Old Chicago” looks at life in pre-fire Chicago and the calamity of the Great Fire"The Legend of Mrs. O'Leary," by Margaret Carrol, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 10, 1996"Whodunit? The Mystery of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," by Richard F. Bales, Chicago Public Library, Sept. 30, 2014"Catherine O’Leary, the Irishwoman blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire," by Eoin Butler, The Irish Times, Feb. 24, 2017"Mrs. O'Leary, Cow Cleared by City Council Committee," by Steve Mills, Oct. 6, 1997"When the sky exploded: Remembering Tunguska," by EarthSky and Paul Scott Anderson in EARTH|SPACE, June 30, 2020.Chelyabinsk Meteor, CNN coverage on YouTube, Feb. 17, 2013Chelyabinsk Meteor Shockwave Compilation, YouTube, Feb. 18, 2013
60 minutes | Jul 30, 2020
Episode 15: The Stockyards
In the Spring of 2020, one of the first cracks in the American economy with Covid-19 was the closing of several meatpacking plants in the United States. The nature of the process with workers stationed in close proximity to one another, poorly ventilated spaces, and often arduous work conditions and practices became a breeding ground for the virus and created Covid hot-spots around the country. Meanwhile, the White House exercising its executive authority via the Defense Production Act ordered slaughterhouses to remain open for fear of disrupting of the nation's meat supply. This underbelly of the food chain is often overlooked, yet for more than a century Chicago was largely identified with wholesale slaughter and meat processing thanks to the Union Stock Yard & Transit Company, which opened on Christmas Day 1865. Stockyards and the downstream processing operations would soon become a ubiquitous presence in the economy of the growing metropolis of Chicago, the commerce of the United States, and the world. Union Stock Yard from Sept. 1866--Chicago IllustratedMid-century postcard of the Stock YardsThe Stock Yards in 1941 The Union Stock Yard & Transit Company led Carl Sandburg to coin the dubious moniker for Chicago, “Hog Butcher to the World.” Yet these operations provided an important testing ground for great ideas and smart solutions employing many great minds, including civil engineer Octave Chanute (1832-1910) and the architect Daniel Burnham (1846-1912). The Stockyards were a prime tourist attraction in Chicago for the general public and people of note such as authors Rudyard Kipling, who was shocked by it, or Upton Sinclair, who based his novel “The Jungle” on the conditions and worker experiences there. The Yards as locals referred to it spurred additional innovations -- for instance the butchering disassembly line inspired Henry Ford to reverse the process to build automobiles which ultimately made them affordable to average Americans. The Union Stock Yard created huge fortunes and dynasties with names like Armour and Swift, often on the back of worker exploitation, which prompted strife and conflict and influenced the development of labor unions. Great gusts blowing across the prairie turned small fires into great conflagrations on several occasions, and yet the Yards survived for more than a century before meeting its demise to the gradual shift of economic winds. However in its heyday, the Yards was the place to be. Join us in this episode to hear some more great Chicago history as we interview historian Dominic A. Pacyga, author of Slaughterhouse: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made. Image from the 1934 Stock Yard FireThe Union Stock Yard Gate in 1879Unloading hogs from Stock Cars in 1912Christopher Lynch & Dominic PacygaRevolving Hog Wheel at the Armour Plant in 1912Dominic Pacyga & Patrick McBriarty Links to Research and Historic Documents WTTW Chicago Stories: The Union StockyardsAmerican Heritage: 1800s Chicago Union StockyardsCollection of images of the Union Stock Yard & Transit Company from the Industrial History websiteAuthor Dominic Pacyga and his books from the University of Chicago PressDominic Pacyga Shares History of Chicago’s Stockyards in ‘Slaughterhouse’ November 23, 2015 on WTTW1910 Union Stock Yards Fire on Chicagology website1934 Union Stock Yards Fire on Chicagology websiteChicago Public Art: Union Stockyard GatePackingtown Museum at The Plant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago"The Jungle" a novel by Upton Sinclair based on the stockyardsOctave Chanute civil engineer and aviation pioneer
70 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
Episode 14: A Brewing City
Chicago has a long history of brewing and distilling; of taverns, pubs, and saloons; of alcohol distribution and consumption so we hope you will soak up this episode on the history of alcohol and its impact on the city. This episode of the Windy City Historians podcast is a historic concoction ranging across Chicago's history to explore the interplay of sociability and society around beer, spirits, and brewing to create, support, and shape the development of this toddling town and vice versa. We hope this will whet your appetite and briefly quench your thirst for history through a unique take on the City of Big Shoulders. In this episode co-hosts Christopher Lynch and Patrick McBriarty talk with Chicago historian Liz Garibay to discuss her research and fascinating stories of American and Chicago history as viewed through the lens of alcohol. Learn the true origin of PBR's Blue Ribbon -- it's NOT from the World's Colombian Exposition of 1893 -- OR about the Lager Beer Riots of 1855 -- as we serve up another interesting brew of Windy City history. Cheers! Beer for Chicago intercepted in Zion, IL during ProhibitionE. Josetti Brewing Co. of Chicago advertisementSchlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, WIServing Beer in a Tavern in ChicagoChicago Harbor Mouth ca. 1900 Links to Research and Historic Documents Latest Chicago Beer News -- Historic Seipp Brewing Returns to Chicago a revival of a historic beer from the great-great-great-granddaughter of Conrad Seipp -- look for it at Metropolitan Brewing Co.Bygone Breweries from the Forgotten Chicago website The Oxford Companion to Beer definition of Chicago from the Craft Beer & Brewing website Chicago Breweries from the Chicagology websiteHistory of Lill & Diversy Brewing from the Digital Research Library of Illinois History JournalHistory of the Schoenhofen Brewery from the Forgotten Chicago websiteThe book Al Capone's Beer Wars by John J. BinderChicago's Brewseum's exhibit at the Field Museum and the video on the 1855 Lager Beer Riot videoHistory on Tap -- historian Liz Garibay's website of events, tours, and more...
56 minutes | May 26, 2020
Episode 13: Early Chicago
In this episode of our “Laying the Foundation” series of the Windy City Historians we explore an often ignored and long forgotten era and complete our interview with Dr. Ann Durkin Keating. We tap into the history of Juliette Kinzie and the city’s early wheelers and dealers as it rises up out of the swampy prairie landscape along the Y-shaped Chicago River on far southwestern shore of Lake Michigan.
93 minutes | Apr 28, 2020
Special Episode: Don’t Sneeze, Cough or Spit!
The contagion began suddenly in the northern suburbs of Chicago and floated south toward the city like an invisible cloud. Soon restaurants, saloons, and theaters were closed and the police had the power to break up crowds and arrest individuals for spitting, coughing or sneezing in public. Public funerals were forbidden and elective surgeries canceled. Everyone wore face masks. Was this Spring, 2020? No, it was Chicago in the Autumn of 1918. Join the Windy City Historians for this special episode as we step away from the chronological telling of Chicago history of our ongoing “Laying the Foundation” series, and instead chart the course of epidemics and outbreaks in Chicago history. In particular, we dig into the, so called, Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. This pandemic reveals many parallels between the events of 1918 and today's struggle with the novel coronavirus (SARS Cov-2, its new official name) in 2020. In this episode we interview historian Joseph Gustaitis, author of Chicago’s Greatest Year, 1893 and Chicago Transformed: World War I and the Windy City to learn about Chicago's the first health crisis in 1835 and subsequent outbreaks and diseases plaguing the young city leading up to the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918. A cataclysmic event in 1918 and 1919 this epidemic infected one-third of the world's population, over 500 million people and killing approximately 1% of the human population on earth, an estimated 20-to-50-million people. In the United States alone approximately 675,000 citizens died -- more Americans than were killed in WWI and WWII combined. The pandemic affected the way Americans and Chicagoan's live and work today and was particularly lethal to people in the prime of their life. Learn more about this incredible story 100+ years ago and the parallels and differences with today's pandemic. Sick bay at Ft. Riley, Kansas in 1918Posting in Chicago in 1918St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps on duty Oct. 1918 Influenza epidemicReported daily flu cases in Chicago from Dr. Robertson's Preliminary Report in Nov. 1918Reported daily deaths from flu in Chicago from Dr. Robertson's Preliminary Report in Nov. 1918 Links to Research and History Documents We mention in this episode one known documented account of whites giving smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans. This is attributed to the letters of Jeffery Amherst a British officer stationed at Fort Pitt in later day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who under siege in 1763 during the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763) writes to Colonel Henry Bouquet. Much has been written of this legend this so a variety of sources are cited on the topic below: Influenza Encyclopedia: the American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia produced by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library.Blog post from a professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on how infectious diseases spread, "The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them," by Erin BromageThe Straight Dope - "Did whites ever give Native Americans blankets infected with smallpox?" by Cecil Adams from October 24, 1997.More on Jeffery Amherst from hosted by the University of Massachusetts by Peter d'Errico © 2001, 2020Details on the folklore of smallpox infected blankets "The Nessus Shirt in the New World: Smallpox Blankets in History and Legend" by Adrienne Mayor, The Journal of American Folklore Winter, 1995 -- please discount her references to Ward Churchhill accounts which were later proven completely false! Please note Ward Churchill mentioned above sadly perpetuated the myth of the U.S. Army spreading smallpox to First Nations in at least six publications between 1994 and 2003. Churchill entirely fabricated incidents which never occurred, about individuals who never existed. His sources were completely falsified, and talk about fake news,
63 minutes | Feb 24, 2020
Episode 12: The First Star – part two
Fort Dearborn at the beginning of the War of 1812 . . . is it a Battle or a Massacre? How should we, in the twenty-first century, talk about the events that occurred on Chicago's lakefront on August 15, 1812 -- a month-and-a-half after the declaration of war? How do we describe what happened to the column of approximately 100 soldiers, farmers, women and children in Indian Country that abandoned Fort Dearborn, mostly on foot, for Fort Wayne when they are attacked by approximately 500 Native Americans? Join us in this episode of the Windy City Historians Podcast for the second half of our interview with history professor Ann Durkin Keating, Ph.D. and The First Star -- a reference to the first star on the Flag of Chicago. Does William Wells actually get his heart carved out to be eaten by the victors? Find out about this and much more as we discuss the final events, implications, art and language surrounding Chicago and aftermath of this infamous attack in Chicago in 1812. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we have putting it together! Engraving of the Battle of Fort Dearborn by S.C. HooperSculptural relief of the battle on the SW bridge house of the Michigan Avenue BridgeStatue of the Fort Deaborn AttackCommemorative plaque in the sidewalk by Michigan Avenue and Wacker DriveDr. Ann Durkin Keating being interviewed by the Windy City Historians Links to Research and History Documents Rising Up From Indian Country by Ann Durkin Keating, Ph. D.H.A. Musham, “Where Did the Battle of Chicago Take Place?” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 36, no. 1 (March 1943)Dr. Keating also recommends: Constance R. Buckley, “Searching for Fort Dearborn: Perception, Commemoration, and Celebration of an Urban Creation Memory,” (Ph.D. diss., Loyola University, 2005), 6.Topinabee (1758-1826) - a Pottawatomie leader from the St. Joseph River areaSimon Pokagon (1830-1899) - author and Native American advocate and Pottawatomie born in southwest Michigan. Son of Leopold Pokagon who was present at the Battle of Fort Dearborn.More about Simon Pokagon and the events at Fort Dearborn on August 15, 1812Battle of Fort Dearborn
60 minutes | Jan 31, 2020
Episode 11: The First Star
Did you realize each of the four stars on the Chicago Flag represent important dates in Chicago history? The two blue stripes on the flag have a special meaning as well. In this Episode we will discuss the events running up to the Fort Dearborn Massacre which is represented by the first star on Chicago's flag. We interview historian, professor, and author Ann Durkin Keating, Ph.D. about the events leading up to what she prefers to call the Battle of Fort Dearborn which occurred on Chicago's lakefront on August 15, 1812. This is the eleventh episode in our inaugural series we call "Laying the Foundation" and continues our chronological overview of Chicago history from its beginnings up to the 1930s. Since March 2019, we have released a new episode each month, usually on the last Friday of the month, to bring you a new slice of fascinating Chicago history. We hope you are enjoying the podcast and we could use your help to expand our audience. Please tell your friends, family, acquaintances, and even complete strangers about these amazing Chicago stories in audible form available only on the Windy City Historians Podcast. Join our Facebook group the Windy City Historians of over 8K members and discover more great Chicago history. The first Chicago flag in 1917George Catlin painting of Tenskwatawa the Shawnee Prophet, brother of TecumsehStamp of the first Fort DearbornHistory and evolution grapic of the Chicago flag Links to Research and History Documents Rising Up From Indian Country by Ann Durkin KeatingThe Middle Ground by Richard WhiteTecumseh (1768-1813) Shawnee leaderBattle of TippecanoeMain Poche: The Last of the Traditional Potawatomi War ChiefsThomas Jefferson and development of his Indian policyMr. Jefferson's Hammer by Robert M. OwensThomas Forsyth (1771-1833) Peoria trader and partner of John KinzieNinan Edwards (1775-1833) Governor of the Illinois Territory from 1808 to 1818Capt. Nathan Heald (1775-1832) Commander of Fort Dearborn in 1812Lt. Linai Helm (? - 1838) junior officer at Fort Dearborn in 1812Ensign, George Ronan (ca. 1783 - 1812) junior officer at Fort Dearborn in 1812
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