Category Archives: History

How a Government Agency Ended Up Responsible for Swing Mikado, Among Others

Playbill, July 2017 — Arts agencies consume a microscopic fraction of the $4 trillion U.S. budget. And yet government funding for the arts is controversial; calls to eliminate it never fully subside. But there was a time when the government did more than just provide grants. For a few years, the government actually had its own theatrical troupes, with Uncle Sam paying actors, directors, and playwrights to put on shows in New York, Chicago, and other cities. …

Read my story at Playbill.

Photo: NYPL for the Performing Arts

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.

And visit the Chicago Tribune for a shorter version of the story, published on April 23, 2017, on the newspaper’s Chicago Flashback page.

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. 

 

 

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.