Lincoln Park Zoo Turns 150

The Lincoln Park Zoo has been a staple of Chicago for longer than anyone alive today can remember—150 years to be exact. Beginning in 1868 with a donation of four swans from New York’s Central Park Zoo, the zoo has morphed and expanded countless times. These changes display both the zoo’s push toward modernization and zoology’s…
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50th Anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention

The 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago was surrounded by tension and controversy. As Chicago marks 50 years since this important episode in its history, you can learn more in Special Collections and at our 1968 Democratic Convention: 50th Anniversary panel discussion on August 23 at Harold Washington Library Center. Panelists will share their personal memories…
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Quiz: Do You Know Chicago’s Parks?

Congratulations, Chicago, you've made it to summer! If you're reading this, though, you're probably stuck inside wishing you were enjoying one of Chicago's amazing parks instead. Now you can experience the parks virtually. We're proud to announce our Chicago Park District Photograph Digital Collection. Explore 10,000 images from parks all over the city and from…
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50 Years of Special Olympics

The Special Olympics celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer here in Chicago. From July 17 to July 21, the international sporting event for people with intellectual disabilities returns to the Windy City, where it was born in the Chicago Park District in 1968. In 1965, a young park district employee named Anne Burke began teaching…
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Making a List: Historical Holiday Shopping

Long before Cyber Monday, folks who didn't live close enough to a city to visit shopping districts downtown would order their holiday gifts through the mail using paper catalogs. If they were ordering those presents between around 1870 and 1920, it's likely they were ordering from a Chicago company. In 1872, just after the Great Chicago Fire, A. Montgomery Ward's…
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How to Make a Grotesque Head

Can't decide what to dress up as for Halloween? Do you feel that a simple mask doesn't show enough dedication? Do you need a better costume idea? Look no further than the Chicago Park District Records: Drawings and Photographs. These collections, along with Grotesque Heads and Masks & Costumes, published by the Park District and the South…
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Happy 50th to the Chicago Picasso!

In the early 1960s, the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was working on designs for Daley Plaza. Architect William Hartmann helped convince Spanish artist Pablo Picasso to design a sculpture for the space. Picasso would not accept payment, making this artwork a gift to the people of Chicago. Constructed from the same Cor-Ten steel used in…
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