The Lakeside Classics Series

Books

  Among my favorites is the Lakeside Classics series. Chicago publisher RR Donnelley & Sons Company's website perhaps best explains the series: "The Lakeside Classics series was started in 1903 by Thomas E. Donnelley, then president of RR Donnelley & Sons Company and son of the founder. T.E. believed that a simple book, dignified and […]

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Chicago History Classics

I am starting a short series of posts on classic Chicago history books.  This is a quirky personal list of great Chicago books, many old and out of print. Emphasis is heavy on Chicago history. Other people will have different preferences. Many of these books would be good for a personal library. These Chicago classics […]

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In the News: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Barn

Currently making the news is the occupation of Oregon’s Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge by armed extremists. However, media descriptions of the land are generally limited to describing it as remote. Chicago Public Library has many government documents describing this subtly fascinating land. We also have laws, regulations, maps and studies of Western land use policy. […]

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North Michigan Avenue aka the Magnificent Mile

Picture of open bridge

Today people come from all over the world to shop on North Michigan Avenue. ZIP code 60611, which includes North Michigan Avenue, has more people employed in retail trade and “accommodations and food service” than any other Chicago ZIP code. In 1909 Chicago’s streets were renumbered, and technically all of Michigan Avenue north of Monroe […]

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Michigan Avenue, A Touch of Paris in Chicago

Street Scene

For many tourists, a visit to Chicago is a visit to Michigan Avenue. Some never go anywhere else. After all, Michigan Avenue has everything you could ever need: hotels, restaurants, shopping, art, music, architecture, museums and parks. By design, the downtown streetscape is reminiscent of our sister city Paris. One of the entrances to the […]

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Astor Street: Chicago’s Best Address

Mansion

Buildings on Astor Street own Chicago’s best addresses. This is true even though currently there is a two-bedroom condo for sale for only $315,000. Single-family townhouses will set you back $3 million to $6 million or more. And it is definitely a street that would not shame a billionaire. Astor Street is less than a half mile long […]

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Prairie Avenue, aka Millionaires’ Row

Big House

In the late 1800s millionaires were nearly as scarce as billionaires are today. Prairie Avenue’s chief claim to fame dates from this era. The mansions of multimillionaires such as Marshall Field, Philip Armour and George Pullman lined both sides of Prairie Avenue near 20th Street. This trend started soon after the Great Fire of 1871 […]

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Streets of Chicago: Midway Plaisance

Midway Plasance Source: National Map

Chicago has its share of unusual street names. For example, nobody quite knows what Agatite Avenue means. The origins and history of the name Midway Plaisance are also more mysterious than commonly assumed. It is the name of both a street and the park contained within the street’s northern and southern branches. According to the […]

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Lake Shore Drive

North Lake Shore Drive from Hancock Building, 2014. Photo credit: Romanbeod Flckr

Lake Shore Drive is a choice, if not particularly exclusive, street. According to the U.S. Census, more than 10,000 of the Near North Side’s 80,000 residents live within a block west of Lake Shore Drive. Another 774 live in Lake Point Tower at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive (the only odd numbered address and the […]

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Everybody Loves State Street

Street Scene

State Street is celebrated in song—Frank Sinatra croons, “State Street, that great street” in the song "Chicago." Blues master Jimmy Yancey performed the "State Street Special." Although unnamed on the original plat map, State Street formed the eastern boundary of Chicago when the town was incorporated in 1833. The street originally was an Indian trail going […]

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