Category Archives: History

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The Story of Chicago’s Four-Star City Flag

Medium.com, April 4, 2017 — Wallace Rice covered the floor of his living room with colorful rectangles. He’d spent six weeks combining shapes and symbols, trying to find just the right image to represent the city where he lived. He’d come up with hundreds of possibilities for a city flag design, and now he displayed his favorites on that floor. Anytime anyone visited Rice’s home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood — people including the author’s acquaintances as well as delivery boys and milkmen — he quizzed them: Which of these should be the city flag?

Read the article at Medium.com.

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Chicago police were condemned in 1904 for drinking, slouching, ignoring crime

Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2017 — Too many of Chicago’s cops weren’t doing their jobs. Slouching in unkempt uniforms, they drank whiskey in saloons when they should have been walking their beats. And they ignored crimes happening right in front of their eyes. These were the findings of an investigation in 1904 called the Piper Report. “Chicago’s police department was given the most unmerciful raking in its history,” the Tribune reported at the time. Read the rest of this article at the Chicago Tribune. 

 

 

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Displaced: When the Eisenhower Expressway Moved in, Who Was Forced Out?

WBEZ’s Curious City, August 26, 2016 — My story answers the question: “What happened to the people displaced by the Eisenhower Expressway?” Read and explore the interactive story (with web design by Logan Jaffe) and listen to the podcast and radio version.

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Long before iPhones, cops battled phone use in fight against gambling

Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2016 — In 1904, Chicago got an early taste of how the competing interests of security and privacy would start to play out for law enforcement and the telecom industry — in an episode with echoes of today’s dispute between Apple and the FBI, over information that might be gleaned about the attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Read my story for the Chicago Tribune’s Flashback page.

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A History of the Society of Midland Authors, Part 2

Society of Midland Authors Books Blog, April 10, 2015 — The authors who gathered at the Auditorium Hotel in Chicago on November 28, 1914, didn’t expect a free dinner. But they were somewhat stunned when the writer who’d invited them, John M. Stahl, picked up the tab for everyone… Read my post at the Society of Midland Authors Books Blog.

Chicago Tribune illustration

sma100

A History of the Society of Midland Authors, Part 1

Society of Midland Authors Books Blog, April 2, 2015 — As the Society of Midland Authors celebrates its 100th birthday, we present a history of the organization, starting with this look at its origins.

In 1914, Carl Sandburg called Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World.” Edgar Lee Masters, a Chicago lawyer born in Kansas, was giving voice to the common folk buried in a cemetery in the fictional town of Spoon River. Other writers scattered around the prairies, like Kansan William Allen White and HoosierJames Whitcomb Riley, were drawing attention with the craft of their words. The Midwest was teeming with creativity… Read my post at the Society of Midland Authors Books Blog.

Photo by Robert Loerzel