History & Culture

All about history and culture in Chicago, including politics, architecture, and famous chicagoans.

Movies in Chicago: John Hughes Films

Movies in Chicago: John Hughes Films

No matter where his career took him, director and writer John Hughes never forgot his roots in Chicago.

John Belushi: Chicago’s Blues Brother

John Belushi: Chicago’s Blues Brother

A gravestone marked “He gave us laughter” rings true for the star of SNL, Animal House, and our city’s beloved Blues Brothers.

Bill Murray: A Chicago-born Comedian

Bill Murray: A Chicago-born Comedian

Urbandictioanry wrote our excerpt for us. They define Bill Murray as “Best F****** guy ever” and Chicago agrees.

Miegs Field: Chicago’s Third Airport

Operating for over 50 years, Miegs Filed was an integral part of Chicago history and the most scenic landing strip in the United States.

Chicago Record Labels (Part Two)

For part two of Chicago Record Labels, I look to span the gamut between independent success stories, the unfortunately-short-lived-but-loved, and totally-unheard-of-but-making-waves-in-certain-crowds.

Let’s Make a Deal: Maxwell Street Market

Before there was Target or Wal-Mart, even before clearance items or sales racks, there was Maxwell Street Market. A bargainer’s haven, the little thoroughfare on the near west side is open every Sunday.

5 Kickass… Records from Chicago’s Past (The 1990s)

5 Kickass… Records from Chicago’s Past (The 1990s)

Local rock station Q101 may be just a memory, but the amazing music that poured out of the city in the ’90s still sounds great. Here’s 5 kickass albums by Chicago bands from the 1990s. Enjoy!

Required Reading: A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun lassos several issues including gender relations, abortion, racial integration, identity politics, and class tensions.

Required Reading: Chicago: City on the Make

Required Reading: Chicago: City on the Make

The definitive introduction to Nelson Algren’s work is his essay / love song / poetic anthropomorphization of the city he once loved.

Marshall Fields – A History

Before boasting the big red Macy’s star, Marshall Field’s was a Chicago shopping staple. Check out the history of this famed department store.

Essanay Studios: “The MGM of the Silents”

Essanay Studios: “The MGM of the Silents”

The only allusions to this building’s history as an American film hot bed are the golden letters spelling “Essanay” above one entrance. But for one decade in the early 1900s, Essanay Studios was the hub of the silent film industry, “the MGM of the silents.”

The Smashing Pumpkins: Chicago’s Musical Juggernaut

The rise and fall (and rise again) of Chicago’s very own Smashing Pumpkins. An epic love story by Gene Wagendorf.

The Newberry Library

Walter Loomis Newberry is one of those famous Chicagoans we sure owe a lot to. He helped spur Chicagoan’s interest in the literary arts and open one of Chicago’s first libraries.

Casimir Pulaski

A uniquely Illinois holiday, Pulaski Day not only celebrates the man behind the name, but all of Chicago’s dense Polish heritage.