Streets of Chicago: Western Avenue

Western Avenue is famous as Chicago’s longest street. It runs 24 miles between Howard Street, Chicago’s northern boundary and the southern city limits at 119th Street. Western continues south of the city, with a few gaps, another 26 miles to the Will/Kankakee County line where it ends at a corn field. Some Chicagoans will tell […]

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Chicago’s La Salle Street

Narrow Street

People in the financial industries often refer to New York as Wall Street, London as the City and Tokyo as Kabuto-cho, all microscopic portions of large cities. Chicago is known as La Salle Street. For the financial world, La Salle Street is a narrow urban canyon stretching the three blocks from Madison to Jackson Street. […]

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Chicago’s Historic Streets

Bus with bright red light on nose

Chicago in 4D and I are starting a series of posts highlighting Chicago's historic and interesting streets. My previous posts about streets include: Technology that Changed Chicago: Artesian Wells (Artesian Avenue) What happened to Tyler Street?  (and other streets named after presidents) Technology that Changed Chicago: Alleys Technology that Changed Chicago: Subdivisions (how streets are laid […]

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Daylight Saving Time in Chicago

Man and teddy bear seting clocks

Daylight Saving Time (DST) changes the official time. The result is we wake up an hour earlier during the summer months. As an illustration, without DST, sunrise this June 19 would be at 4:15 a.m. in Chicago and sunset at 7:29 p.m. With DST, sunrise will be at the more reasonable hour of 5:15 a.m., […]

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Standard Time

Plaque at LaSalle and Jackson commemorating the 1883 General Time Convention. Photo: Municipal Reference Guy

Today, everybody may show up at a meeting within seconds of each other and every part of the world is in a time zone offset from English time by an exact number of hours (in some cases by 15, 30 or 45 minutes). It is difficult for us to realize that this system only started […]

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Who Can I Marry? A Chicago History

Photo Credit: firemedict58

As we approach February 26, the first anniversary of the day same-sex marriage began in Chicago, it is interesting to take a look at the history of marriage restrictions in Chicago. Pre-Statehood (Prior to 1818) I haven’t researched this period in great detail, as marriage did not seem to be overly regulated. In early Chicago, […]

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Crown Point, Indiana: Chicago’s Gretna Green

Looking down a street. Old automobiles and buildings

Fans of Regency romances will recognize Gretna Green, a small village in Scotland. English laws of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries required couples to be 21, give public notice and wait several weeks before marrying. Scotland did not require a waiting period and sixteen-year-olds could get married. Eloping couples would flee to Scotland and get […]

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The Books behind the Memes

In popular internet culture, a meme is a viral idea. Memes existed before the internet. Here are the books behind some popular memes. I can’t swear to these books’ truth, but they are taught in some university courses and they will certainly make you think. The first meme is the idea of a meme.  Richard […]

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Lieutenant Cushing, My Favorite Whacked-Out Hero


President Obama has Seal Team Six. President Lincoln had William Cushing. Although Cushing was expelled from the Naval Academy, he talked his way into a commission in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. He was soon promoted to lieutenant. In all navies, the higher your rank, the bigger the ship you command. Commanders command […]

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A Look Back at Illinois Inaugural Addresses

Group Picture

Illinois governors have included heroes, crooks, bureaucrats, intellectuals and types in between.  Chicago Public Library has many governors' messages and inaugural addresses, allowing you to read how the governors perceived Illinois’ challenges in their own words. Often the speeches provide an unexpected look into history. The early governors, such as Thomas Carlin in 1840, were […]

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