historic chicago

Me @ Historians

People I’ve never met- Why do you think John Laurens and Alexander Hamilton were in a relationship? It’s not in any history books.

Me- *has an entire novel dedicated to this one question* Let’s review–


Chicago Architecture in Paper Craft

John Morris, the blogger and photographer behind projects such as Chicago Architecture Data and Chicago Patterns, has been focusing his efforts lately on recreating some of Chicago’s most common and iconic styles of residences in paper miniature form. His latest project, called Tiny City, showcases some of Morris’ recreations of historic Chicago buildings but also invites others to join by making their own miniature models.

Follow the Source Link for images sources and more information.


In an animated short film by Academy Award-winner John Kahrs, a lonely widow in historic South Chicago is inspired to start sharing the ride — and sharing her life, too. Featuring original song, “Movin,” written and performed by Lyft driver-turned-recording artist Sir the Baptist, who launched his music career after a connection with a Lyft passenger.

I storyboarded on this beautiful short. Loved working on this! Honored with work with such an amazing crew. 


Auditorium Building Stained Glass by Jeff Reuben
Via Flickr:
The Auditorium Building, now Roosevelt University, was the largest structure of its kind in America at the time of its completion in 1890. Designed by Dankmar Adler (1844-1900) and Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924), the 4,237-seat theater, hotel, and office building earned a national reputation for their firm. Source: Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Addendum to report No. ILL-1007 With direction from Sullivan, the windows were executed in 1889 by the renowned stained-glass firm of George Healy and Louis Millet, which won acclaim in Europe for its designs. It is also rumored that Sullivan’s protege Frank Lloyd Wright had a hand in the designs. Wright, who called Sullivan “master,” was his right-hand man before setting out on his own and had a particular interest in stained glass that continued throughout his career. Source: Chicago Tribune, “Artful Glass”, 27 November 2000

Vertical parking, 1930s. This was an “elevator garage” in Chicago, 33 W. Monroe Street. It held up to 48 cars. Workers simply drove into the elevator car, parked in their sky-high slots, then walked along the fire escape to their offices.

Art Deco Theatres

Theatre architecture in the 20s, other disciplines, embraced the clean and streamlined design that was Art Deco. This was a sea change from the palatial opulence of much of the early 20th century design that treated every surface as something to decorate. 

The following are excerpts from introduction to the 1989 THS annual “Glamour, Glitz and Sparkle: The Deco Theatres of John Eberson” by Richard Guy Wilson - Architecture Historian - University of Virginia.

“The term Art Deco has come to mean the attempt in the period between the two world wars to forge a new visual aesthetic, not only in architecture, but in the other design arts as well.”

“In the decades of the 20s and 30s, Americans were bombarded with the belief that a new age had come into being, a modern age controlled by machine and modern technology.”

“The full experience for many Americans came inside the new movie theatre…There one could really not just see, but feel the full kinetic impact, the physical and sensual three dimensions of modern design.”

Photos of the Oswego Theatre in Oswego, NY

Lake Theatre in Oak Park, IL

Beverly theatre in Chicago, IL

Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL

Penn Theatre in Washington D.C.

The last two are of the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA


Light by Frank Lloyd Wright by Ann Fisher
Via Flickr:
Unity Temple, Oak Park

Richard Speck: Before and After the Massacre

The name Richard Speck is well known throughout the true crime community. For those unfamiliar, Speck was responsible for the 1966 massacre of 8 Chicago nursing students. He bound, assaulted, strangled, and stabbed them. To put this crime in perspective, Speck had so many victims he didn’t even realize that one was missing. The 9th woman, Corazon Amurao, squeezed beneath a bed and hid for hours until he left and she felt safe enough to come out.

But what of Speck before and after this brutal, senseless crime?


• He was born the 7th of 8 children.
• He was abused as a child by his stepfather.
• He married and had a daughter.
• Throughout his early years, he was in and out of jail and trouble with the law.
• When he got work on a ship, it seemed that dead women cropped up behind him, including in Michigan.


• He died in prison in 1991 of a heart attack.

• In 1996, a video of Richard prior to his death went public. In the video, he had appeared to have grown breasts, likely due to hormone therapy. He also engaged in drugs and sexual activity with a fellow prisoner, while wearing women’s underwear. He even spoke of the murders of the 8 women with absolutely no remorse. In fact, when asked why he had killed the women, he laughingly replied, “It just wasn’t their night.” Needless to say, the video shocked and disgusted those who viewed it.