From the desk of Robert Loerzel

facebook twitter instagram 

Topography, Tombs, and Tolls

I’ve now posted Chapter 3 of my ongoing history about … well, what exactly is this all about? The early history of what we now call the Uptown neighborhood. But I confess this whole thing is a bit sprawling.

This chapter is called “Topography, Tombs, and Tolls,” and it delves deep into the area’s prehistory. If you’re eager to read more about my research on the Green Mill … sorry, it’s going to take a couple of chapters before I get back to that.

This one is about the ice ages … how the land formed in Chicago … ancient stories told by Native Americans … the swamps that used to cover parts of the North Side … speculation about beavers … how trails evolved into roads … a mid-19th-century panic about cemeteries causing sickness … etc.

It has some cool old maps.
Map of Lake View Township

That Four-Star Flag

Chicago city flag
April 4 was Chicago Flag Day. The Chicago City Council designated this day back in 2017, when it was the 100th anniversary of the city flag’s adoption.

On that centennial date six years ago, I posted an article on exploring the flag’s history. It’s called “The Story of Chicago’s Four-Star City Flag,” and you can find it here.

I happened to notice that my article is cited in the research notes at the end of Neil Steinberg’s wonderful recent book, Every Goddamn Day: A Highly Selective, Definitely Opinionated, and Alternatingly Humorous and Heartbreaking Historical Tour of Chicago.

This book has a short vignette from Chicago’s history for each day of the calendar. I’ve chosen to read one of these little chapters each day of the year, rather than plowing straight through the book, and it’s been a delightful addition to my daily routine.

For the April 4 chapter, Steinberg tells a pithy version of the flag’s history. I’m always honored to be mentioned in the footnotes of someone else’s book—it’s good to know something I’ve researched and written is proving useful to other writers.

When I mentioned this on Twitter, Neil kindly remarked that my article is “the definitive source” on this topic. Thanks, Neil!

Birds Springing Into Chicago

We’re in one of the favorite times of the year for birders—spring migration. I’ve had fun this week watching for birds returning to Chicago after spending the winter in places south of here. Here are a few of the birds I photographed.
belted kingfisher
A belted kingfisher
tree swallow
A tree swallow
blue-winged teals
Blue-winged teals
eastern towhee
An eastern towhee
golden-crowned kinglet
A golden-crowned kinglet
eastern phoebe
An eastern phoebe
northern flicker
A northern flicker

From the desk of Robert Loerzel

Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet