Chicagology (pronounced shə-kä-goh-OL-luh-jee) is a study of Chicago history with a focus on the period prior to the Second World War. The purpose of the site is to document common and not so common stories about the City of Chicago as they are discovered. It is not intended to be a nostalgia site nor to collect info in order to promote services or products of any kind.
Research is a never-ending journey of discovery. Information posted here is constantly being revised with either additional or corrected information. Therefore, the site is in a constant growth and change state. However, browsing through Chicagology is like flipping the pages of a book. You can visit any section or page at random, yet have no difficulty in knowing where you are.
I hope that you enjoy your visit and welcome any input that you want to offer—good or bad. The intent is to provide each visitor with a pleasant ad-free experience and to ignite a flame that discovering history is just as exciting as living it.
1850-1871 Pre-Fire Chicago – A large section that describes the city in this early era.
1871 Chicago Fire – A section devoted to the cause and aftermath of the Great Fire.
1872-1879 Rebuilding of Chicago – A collection of the first buildings built after the Great Fire.
1880-1900 Golden Age of Chicago – A collection of the buildings that included the dawn of the skyscraper.
1893 World’s Fair – The biggest event of the 19th century was held in Chicago and the White City was born.
1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair – The second World’s Fair held in Chicago celebrated her first hundred years.
1937 Charter Day
Baseball – Take a trip to a bygone era where the Cubs were called the White Stockings and had to miss two seasons because a fire in 1871 destroyed their uniforms.
Biographical Sketches of the Leading People of Chicago
Biographical essays of some of the first pioneers of Chicago, using period sources.
Central Manufacturing District – The story of the first planned manufacturing district in the United States.
Cemeteries – Chicago is the home to four of the oldest cemeteries in a large city.
Chicago Bicycles – Before the automobile, the bicycle was the new mode of individual transportation and Chicago played a major role.
Chicago Name Origins
Origins of the Windy City
Chicago Streets – Articles about the street numbering logic as well as who her early streets were named after and why.
Chicago Courthouses – A brief history of the seven Chicago courthouses.
Chicago Golf Club – A brief history of the one of the most important golf clubs in the United States
Chicago Harbor – Articles pertaining to the history of the harbors and life along the Chicago River.
Chicago Libraries—A brief sketch of the libraries in Chicago written in 1895.
Chicago Newspapers – A complete family tree directory of all the Chicago Newspapers. Organized by each successive owner by date.
Chicago Police Department – A brief history of the Chicago Police Department plus several articles on the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicagoan – Covers of the short run The Chicagoan social magazine that was published in 1926
Marshall Field & Company Centennial
First National Bank of Chicago
Fort Dearborn – The fort that started it all.
- The Battle of Fort Dearborn
The Massacre Tree
Model of the First Fort Dearborn
Last Great War Dance in Chicago
A Wolf Hunt in Early Chicago
Christmas at Fort Dearborn
- St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago
Captain Francis O’Neill
Archer (Archy) Avenue
1848—Kilgubbin (Goose Island)
Notorious Chicago – A collection of stories that made up Chicago’s notorious past.
Population & Ward Maps – A complete set of charts that indicate each ward’s boundaries during Chicago’s early years.
- Population & Annexation
1837 Ward Map
1847 Ward Map
1853 Ward Map
1863 Ward Map
1869 Ward Map
1876 Ward Map
1911 Ward Maps
City Limits & Ward Map 1835-1869
Seal of Chicago – A brief description of the Seal of Chicago.
Silent Movie & Radio in Chicago
Sporting Goods Capital — With names like Spalding, Wilson, Brunswick, Schwinn, and Kiefer, Chicago has been home to many of the most recognizable brands in sporting goods manufacturing.
Tallest Buildings — Tables that show the history of the tallest buildings in the United States and Chicago
Theatres of Chicago — A comprehensive list of the the theatres and music houses that existed in pre-1900 Chicagp.
- Union Stock Yards—History of the Union Stock Yards.
Union Stock Yards—Description of the new stock yards as published in Chicago Illustrated, September, 1866
1869-1937 Bubbly Creek
Hough House (Transient House)—Description of the Hough House Hotel as published in Chicago Illustrated, September, 1866
A Day at the Union Stockyard—An article that was published in the July 1907 issue of “Chicago The Great Central Market Magazine.” It was possibly written as a PR piece to combat Upton Sinclair’s exposé “The Jungle,” which was published as a book on February 26, 1906.
1910 Union Stock Yards Fire.
1934 Union Stock Yards Fire.
Chicagology was created on March 17, 2003
Eric Haak says
I am researching Chicago Fire Fighters who died in the line of duty. There were several incidents that occurred in the commission houses on South Water. I was wondering if you could shed some light on how those businesses worked. I have a good idea but wanted to confirm with someone who might actually know. Currently I am working on an incident that occurred on block 19. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I am looking for anything about the taste of honey club in 1973
Denise Meitz says
I have a ceramic Made in Japan.
Salt,Pepper, Sugar that sit’s in a boat of my Great Grandmother’s.
It read’s CHICAGO 1833-1933 Century of Progress on it.
Would this be of interest to someone I could sell it to?
Michael Daly says
I am trying to locate a full-page spread in the Daily Journal, Chicago, Illinois about my mother MARY DARDUGNO winning Chicago broad jump. I believe this article was featured in July, 1923 or 1924.
Any help or direction will be very much appreciated.
It will be interesting to see what artifacts are preserved from this year’s Cubs’ World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians last evening. Hopefully, it won’t be another 100+ years before they repeat. I am also wondering how odd those artifacts will look when the next century turns over. It was a great series with really good baseball. That’s something to remember for sure.
Chris Wood says
I was wondering, did you had any pictures of pre-fire warehouses or pre-fire stables? Also, were there other stables in pre-fire Chicago after the union stockyards opened?
Gene Meier says
I am writing the first spreadsheet from the American point of view about 19th century rotunda panoramas. These were the biggest paintings in the world, 50 x 400=20,000 square feet, housed in their own rotundas which were 16-sided polygons. Chicago in 1893 had 6 panorama companies and 6 panorama rotundas
The Reed & Gross company was located in Englewood (the studio may have been at NE corner Harvard Avenue & 65th Street aka H.H.Gross Subdivision) 1885-88. They produced units of BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG and JERUSALEM ON THE DAY OF THE CRUCIFIXION for cities from coast to coast and beyond: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, Europe, West Indies, South American.In autumn 1888 they removed to Australia to set up 2 rotundas in Melbourne,1 in Adelaide,1 in Sydney, and later in New Zealand. They returned by 1890 and produced THE CHICAGO FIRE Panorama ,using two 5 x 40 1/10th scale prototypes (1) from the site of Fort Dearborn, which was donated to Chicago Historical Society in 1905), and (2) from the point of view of the former BATTLE OF SHILOH panorama rotunda which stood on Michigan between Madison and Monroe; this latter prototype canvas was on display at WHITE CITY AMUSEMENT PARK, courtesy Emmett W. McConnell, “The Panorama King”.
 A.T.Andreas, who published the three volume HISTORY OF CHICAGO, produced BATTLE OF SHILOH in Chicago, BATTLE OF MANASSAS for Washington, D.C., and MONITOR & MERRIMAC for NYC
William Wehner of Chicago built his panorama studio in downtown Milwaukee. From 1885-88 he produced 2 units of BATTLE OF ATLANTA,2 units of MISSIONARY RIDGE & LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, and 3 units of JERUSALEM ON THE DAY OF THE CRUCIFIXION. On September 18,2003 I found in the display case of Milwaukee County Historical Society the F.W.Heine diaries 1879-1921. This is the only narrative of a panorama company. The Heine diaries are as important to the history of 19th century rotunda panoramas as the letters of Theo and Vincent Van Gogh are important to the history of Post Impressionism. The diaries needed to be transcribed in German, translated to English, scanned to computer. Michael Kutzer, born 1941 in Leipzig, is transcriber of the project. When Van Gogh died in 1890 his letters were already considered a National Treasure in France and were soon published. A short time later this material was translated and published the world wide. When Heine died in 1921 the importance of his illustrated journals ( begun in 1860 when he was 14) were acknowledged in the German language press but were NEVER PUBLISHED. The Heine family donated these to Milwaukee County Historical Society in the 1960s.Some volumes were displayed in a display case out front, the rest put in a pasteboard box and put beneath the desk of the curator, which he kicked every time he sat at the desk to work. THE FIRST VOLUME IS MISSING. Heine was a war correspondent for GARTENLAUBE, and witnessed the 1866 Austrian-Prussian War,1870-1 Franco Prussian War and the declaration of the German Empire at Versailles.Michael released years 1885-1893 to me to edit,index and annotate, and share with interested parties. He presently works on years 1880-mid 1885, which tell of formation of early panorama cartels in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe, the early phase 2 rotunda panoramas, and meeting with Wehner in Europe, and his emigration.Info to share
Citizen D says
Why no mention of Du Sable in the Fort Dearborn segment?
I’m trying to uncover more information about the historic Great Lakes Building built in 1890 that still stands. Adress is 180 N. Wacker Dr. Literally searched everywhere and still can’t find anything
Brian McMahon says
Anybody know what happened to the Chicago branch plant of the Ford Motor Company located at 39th Street and Wabash Avenue, built in 1914? It was one of 25, or so, plants built at that time, and may be the only one that has been demolished. Thanks, Brian McMahon