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

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

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

Election Night 2016

Letter from Chicago: Misery engulfed Clinton supporters as outcome became clear London Evening Standard, November 9, 2016 — In this overwhelmingly Democratic city, many of the people who’d gathered in downtown bars to watch election results grew sullen and angry as the night went on. “How is it close?” asked Rachael Smith, a DePaul University student wearing… Continue reading Election Night 2016

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.

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

Classical music in Chicago

This article by Robert Loerzel originally appeared in Listen magazine’s September-October 2009 issue. When poet Carl Sandburg called Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,” he easily could have added “Music Maker” to that list. The City of the Big Shoulders forged so many of the sounds that became popular American… Continue reading Classical music in Chicago