Another Deadly Chicago Heat Wave: 1916

Scroll down or click these links for appendixes on CHICAGO MORTALITY TRENDS and WEATHER RECORDS; and SOURCE NOTES. THIS MONTH—JULY 2020—WAS THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHICAGO’S MOST NOTORIOUS HEAT WAVE, which killed an estimated 700 people during a scorching week in 1995. While that tragedy is well documented, a similar catastrophe from earlier in the… Continue reading Another Deadly Chicago Heat Wave: 1916

Where Chicago’s 1919 race riot began

The landscape along Lake Michigan on Chicago’s South Side has utterly changed over the past century. If you’re looking for the beaches where Chicago’s race riot erupted on July 27, 1919, you won’t find them. As I was researching a history of the riot for Chicago magazine, I searched for maps, documents, and details that… Continue reading Where Chicago’s 1919 race riot began

Chicago’s Oldest (and Oddest) Laws

WBEZ’s Curious City, April 28, 2018 — Read my interactive online story about some of Chicago’s oddest laws, and listen to the audio story about the city’s oldest laws: Audio production by Laura Pavin | Illustrations by Nate Otto | Digital production by Katherine Nagasawa | Edited by Alexandra Salomon

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

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… Continue reading The Story of Chicago’s Four-Star City Flag