Category: Chicago History

Chicago's Father Augustus Tolton -- from slave to saint?

Chicago's Father Augustus Tolton --  from slave to saint?
Dedicated to James, who prays fervently for Father Augustus Tolton to be elevated to Sainthood      “Notice James,” my friend, Michelle,  said.  I looked over to see a dignified man, standing straight and tall, who was lost in prayer, his lips moving silently.  I noticed that after Mass, James went to a portrait of... Read more »

The Federal Writers' Project looks at Aurora, Illinois

The Federal Writers' Project looks at Aurora, Illinois
  At the depths of the Great Depression, in 1935,  the Federal Writers Project, under the Works Progress Administration, employed over 6000 writers, artists, and photographers.  They recorded and documented many aspects of American life during a time of extreme financial distress, natural disasters and a looming war in Europe.  Many believe the most lasting contribution of the Writers... Read more »

The Federal Writers' Project Looks at the Old Chicago Post Office

The Federal Writers' Project Looks at the Old Chicago Post Office
      At the depths of the Great Depression, in 1935,  the Federal Writers Project, under the Works Progress Administration, employed over 6000 writers, artists, and photographers.  They recorded and documented many aspects of American life during a time of extreme financial distress, natural disasters and a looming war in Europe.  Many believe the most lasting contribution... Read more »
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302 Answered Questions about Perking

302 Answered Questions about Perking
Perking. It used to invoke emotions that were not as savage as twerking, but had its place in every American home at one time. I am talking about the coffee pot.  A type that perks.  With a little glass dome on the top that you can see the coffee erupt into and then drop and... Read more »

All I want for Christmas is a Dibs Chair

All I want for Christmas is a Dibs Chair
With the first couple of snowfalls in Chicago I am reminded of a tradition called “Dibs”, which probably goes back to when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was a pup. Even back then, when you shoveled out a spot for your horse or your horse and carriage,  you put out a piece of furniture to block another... Read more »

People in Lustron metal houses should only throw magnets

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World War II was over, and millions of returning GI’s were anxious to settle down and start families, only they wanted an immediate bite of the American Dream Pie, so they wanted a house and a white picket fence and a car in the car-port, instead of crammed in city living, which had been the... Read more »
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Snackville Junction comes to the end of the line

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Few people ride the rails anymore, but there are a dedicated group that eat what the rails deliver. But not for long. Snackville Junction, 9144 S. Kedzie Avenue, Evergreen Park, was born when rail travel was still strong, with the simple idea of sending hot dogs and hamburgers around a track to hungry kids of... Read more »

Hunting Ghost Airports of Chicagoland

Hunting Ghost Airports of Chicagoland
Just like humans, airports have come to life only to die — and become shopping malls and housing developments and sometimes just empty fields, the old runways covered by corn. The survivors, Midway and O’Hare and  Chicago Executive Airport in northwest Wheeling,  are among the best known of what were once scrappy grass and sometimes... Read more »

A Chicago Mayor Dies and a President Lives

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Anton Cermak, the 36th mayor of Chicago, died March 06, 1933, after being injured in an a assassination attempt on the life of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Cermak, who was in a Miami, Florida, park was shot on February 15, and uttered the famous words to Roosevelt as they were rushing towards the hospital: “I’m glad... Read more »
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Chicago, Auto Maker to the World?

Chicago, Auto Maker to the World?
At one time this was true. Prior to World War I, Chicago was a leading rival to Detroit for the manufacture of the “Horseless Carriage”, according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History. Once-upon-a-time, as then is now, the electric and hybrid automobile was all the rage.  From 1896 to 1918, the Woods Motor Vehicle Company... Read more »