Rush Street: The Place to be in 1950

Rush Street Sign

Rush Street is a narrow street stretching from the Chicago River (400 North) to Cedar Street (1138 North). Rush was named after Dr. Benjamin Rush, a famous Revolutionary War doctor. In the mid-twentieth century, Rush Street meant nightclubs. Chicago: Confidential! describes Rush Street in 1950: East of Clark Street is Rush Street. Clark gets the […]

Read More

Harold Washington Plaque

Portrait of Harold Washington

Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American Mayor, was born on April 15, 1922 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. To mark his birthday, a plaque paying tribute to Harold Washington has just been placed at the library’s State Street entrance beneath the arch with his name carved in stone. A graduate of DuSable High School, Roosevelt College and Northwestern […]

Read More

National Poetry Month: Poetry History

Postcard from Gwendolyn Brooks to Paul Breman. Source: Heritage Press Archives

April is National Poetry Month! Chicago Public Library's archival collections help you explore poetry history. The Hugh J. Schwartzberg Poetry Collection highlights famous poets and Chicago's role in 20th century poetry history. The Heritage Press Archives focus on poetry by writers of African descent in the second half of the 20th century. Hugh J. Schwartzberg, a poet […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Remembering a Blues Legend: Muddy Waters’ “Mojo” at 100

Got My Mojo Working album cover

Nobody knew the blues like Muddy Waters. Although he was born in Mississippi on April 4, 1915, Waters spent a considerable amount of time right here in sweet home Chicago. It’s here that he electrified the blues with his slide guitar skills, making the blues sound like what it is today. He is widely regarded for making Chicago […]

Read More

Extraordinary Local Women of History

Source: Chicago Public Library, Cleveland Hall Branch Archives

Despite a few snowy days, spring has officially arrived and March is almost over. Let's wrap up Women's History Month by highlighting the contributions of two Chicago women. Vivian G. Harsh The first African American branch head at the Chicago Public Library and an early leader in the movement to preserve African American history, Vivian Gordon Harsh was often described as […]

Read More

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. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

The Chicago Artists’ Archive: Documenting Local Artists

Windy City by Rudolph Weisenborn

The Chicago Artists’ Archive is a great way to research well-known Chicago artists as well as those who may not be in books or well-represented on the Internet. Since the early 20th century CPL has kept artist files. These fascinating files include a variety of materials, including but not limited to articles, photographs, slides, gallery invitations, […]

Read More

Remembering Civil Rights Activist Rev. Willie Barrow

Willie Barrow

The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, an advocate for civil rights and social justice, passed away Thursday after a long illness. She was 90. She spent her life fighting for the rights of minorities, the LGBT community, women and union members. Barrow was born December 17, 1924 in Burton, Texas. She settled in Chicago in 1943 […]

Read More