24 episodes

This is not your Grandad's podcast - WELCOME to the Windy City Historians (WCH) Podcast! Windy City Historians Podcast is a podcast on and about Chicago history for anyone curious about the Windy City hosted by authors and historians Christopher Lynch & Patrick McBriarty. Started in March 2019, we share Chicago history and some great Chicago stories.

Windy City Historians Podcast Christopher Lynch & Patrick McBriarty

    • History
    • 4.7 • 31 Ratings

This is not your Grandad's podcast - WELCOME to the Windy City Historians (WCH) Podcast! Windy City Historians Podcast is a podcast on and about Chicago history for anyone curious about the Windy City hosted by authors and historians Christopher Lynch & Patrick McBriarty. Started in March 2019, we share Chicago history and some great Chicago stories.

    Episode 23 – Reversing the Chicago River

    Episode 23 – Reversing the Chicago River

    Native Americans held great respect for natural systems while also managing the landscape to support their people and way of life. As "civilization" came to this area Chicago became a military outpost, village, city and metropolis and its residents were confronted with the elemental and reoccurring issue of controlling water -- both fresh and waste water. Managing this cycle of use and renewal the city has over the decades repeatedly invested millions into various projects to drain the land, process waste, and modify the waterways for both sanitation and navigation. These major projects have included altering waterways, building canals, tunnels, and water works and treatment facilities to make the greater Chicago area livable and comfortable on a day-to-day basis for the millions of residents and annual visitors each year.







    In this episode we will discuss how Chicago came to not only reverse the Y-shaped river running through its downtown, but also the precedents and solutions to regulate fresh water, sewage, flooding, and growing needs of the population. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) formerly known as The Sanitary District was created in 1889 to manage the area's water resources and was tasked with building the Sanitary & Ship Canal to protect Lake Michigan and our source for drinking water. Toward this end we speak with Dick Lanyon who is an author, historian and retired MWRD engineer to explain this amazing story of political power and engineering genius that created the evolving regional system of water management for Chicagoland.







    Ellis S. Chesbrough (1813-1886)Drawing of building the water intake cribs in ChicagoDigging of the Sanitary & Ship CanalTemporary dam on the South Fork of the Chicago RiverWork on the embankmentWork on shore pilingsRemoval of the center-pier of a swing bridge in the riverA dredge at workWork on a rock section of the Sanitary & Ship CanalCanal workPreparing to fill in the canal near the stockyardsTowing barges on the canal







    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    Books by retired MWRD engineer and historian Richard LanyonHistory of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District from their websiteBiography of engineer Elis S. Chesbrough from the ASCE websiteHistory of the Chicago Water Cribs from the Industrial History website posted Feb. 3, 2016

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Episode 22 – Eyewitness to History: From the Pullman Strike to H.H. Holmes

    Episode 22 – Eyewitness to History: From the Pullman Strike to H.H. Holmes

    Looking back on historical events, whether it is the Civil War or the Chicago Fire, they are usually presented in isolation, a individual events separated by subject, pinned to a specific date or period of time.  Yet, history is not nearly so neat and tidy, and to someone who lived through those times, it becomes part of the greater tapestry of life. 







    With this in mind our latest and 22nd episode of the Windy City Historians podcast “Eyewitness to History" approaches this historical journey following the experiences of Chicago policeman, John E. Fitzpatrick (1852-1902). As a Patrol Sergeant Fitzpatrick was present at the Haymarket Bombing of 1886, rose rapidly through the ranks to soon attain the position of Inspector and lead the honor guard for President Cleveland for the opening ceremonies of the Columbian Exposition of 1893.  A year later, Inspector Fitzpatrick would be embroiled in a chaotic summer due to the Pullman Railroad Strike, and the following year is assigned as lead detective on the H.H. Holmes serial murder cases that shocked a nation. 







    A century later, these remarkable stories and adventures were unearthed by his great-great-granddaughter and our guest, Kim Fitzpatrick. Based on Kim's diligent research we uncover the life and times of John E. Fitzpatrick and present this fascinating and personal history of his decorated Chicago Police career. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed learning the Fitzpatricks' story.







    Note: This episode was updated on May 4, 2021 to correct a missing "great" to Kim Fitzpatrick's relation and great-great grandfather John E. Fitzpatrick.









    John E. FitzpatrickKim FitzpatrickNewspaper sketch of Inspector FitzpatrickThe Raising of Chicago buildingsGeorge PullmanChief Francis O'NeillUnion Leader Eugene V. DebsDebs CartoonIllinois Gov. John Peter AltgeldPullman Car InteriorReplica of the Lincoln Funeral Pullman CarWreckage from the Johnstown FloodPullman Strike Scene









    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    John E. Fitzpatrick obituary, Chicago Tribune, Mar. 27, 1902Opening Day of the Columbian Exposition: May 1st, 1893, a series of articles on The World's Fair website posted in April 2018The Time They Lifted Chicago Fourteen Feet, on the enjoy Illinois website posted Dec. 3, 2018 The Lincoln Funeral Train, on the Illinois History & Lincoln Collections blog posted Aug. 30, 2019The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough published Jan. 15, 1987Johnstown Flood Memorial, National Park Service website H.H. Holmes (1861 - 1896), on Wikipedia on this serial killer also chronicled in the book belowDevil in the White City, by Erik Larson"How a Deadly Railroad Strike Led to the Labor Day Holiday," by Sarah Pruitt posted Aug. 27, 2019 on the History Channel websiteThe Pullman Strike 1894 history on the Kansas Heritage websiteHistoric Pullman Foundation websiteChief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant websiteA Harvest Saved: Francis O'Neill and Irish Music in Chicago, by Nicholas Carolan published April 1997Francis O'Neill: The Police Chief Who Saved Irish Music, on WTTW's Chicago Stories websitePullman Strike, by Melvin I. Urofsky on Encyclopedia Britannica websitePullman National Monument on the Nation Parks Service websiteAdam Selzer astonishing Chicago website by this historian, author and tour guidePresident Obama dedicates the Pullman Site a national monument on YouTube posted on July 21, 2016"The Rise and Fall of the Sleeping Car King," by Jack Kelly, Jan. 11, 2019 on Smithsonian Magazine website

    • 55 min
    Episode 21 – The Third Star – part III

    Episode 21 – The Third Star – part III

    As we conclude this three-part mini-series on the Columbian Exposition of 1893, we talk about a few favorite exhibits and stories about the Fair, connections that exist still, and relevancy of the World's Fair today. A major event for Chicago and honored by a star on the Chicago Flag the Fair brought Chicago and the United States to the world stage to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus coming to America.







    Join us as we speak with Paul Durica the Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry Library and historian and writer Jeff Nichols. And to complete this show, co-host Chris Lynch shares additional stories and connections with this World's Fair culled from his research on the topic. Join us for a fascinating ride through Windy City history on this episode about the Chicago Columbian Exposition and World's Fair of 1893.







    Map of the FairFair visitors on the Midway PlaisanceA belly dancer from the Streets of Cairo ExhibitThe dancer Little Egypt, stellar attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition The first electric moving-sidewalk The Japanese pavilion1894 ruins of the FairA image of the destroyed Fair grounds after the 1894 fire







    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    A history of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, link to this four volume set in Hathi TrustPanic of 1893 in WikipediaThe Columbian Museum and history of the Field Museum from their websiteFrederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect of the Columbian Exposition in Encyclopedia Britannica"The Man Behind the Man Behind Oz: W. W. Denslow at 150," by Michael Patrick Hern, July 5, 2006 on the AIGA website.Harriet Monroe (1860 - 1936) a biography on the Poetry Foundation websiteLumpen Radio - community radio station located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago at 105.5 FMAunt Jemima and the Pearl Milling CompanyJohn Phillips Sousa a biography on the Library of Congress websiteThomas Edison film in 1896 of Little Egypt on YouTubeMusic Lesson: The Streets of Cairo from Larsen Halleck on YouTube

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Episode 20 – The Third Star – part II

    Episode 20 – The Third Star – part II

    We continue our discussion of Chicago's first World's Fair to learn why carousels were risque, the Ferris Wheel encouraged voyeurism, Columbus was cool, and unfortunately racism was the norm. In addition, the 1893 World's Fair was a launching pad for many new products, industries, and processes that were promoted, were popularized or invented as a result of the Fair, like the Post Card, Cracker Jacks, the Zipper, and many more.







    In this second World's Columbian Exposition episode, we talk with historian and Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry Library Paul Durica, to explore the various exhibits, tone, and tenor of the Fair and Chicago in 1893. Plus, additional snippets from our interview with historian Jeff Nichols.







    This World's Fair transformed a swampy patch of lakefront, which is now Jackson Park on Chicago's south side, and remnant lagoons and three harbors still exist there today. Besides these physical remainders of the Fair, this historic exhibition also marked Chicago history through the gathering of many influential people and ideas from around the world. This Fair was the impetus for the sharing of world cultures and intermixing of peoples and traditions that still impacts us today. Join us on this episode for more fascinating stories surrounding the World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893.







    Ida B. WellsFrederick DouglassThe MidwayThe Liberal Arts BuildingTurkish Village ExhibitionThe Electricity HallRickshaws on the Midway PlaisanceThe Administration BuildingThe electrified Court of Honor of the White City







    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    Chicago Tribune May 4, 2017 article, "Take a 'walking tour' of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition -- the 'White City'"Chicago by Day and Night, edited by Paul Durica and Bill SavageThe Midway Airport HistoriansChicago: City on the Make, by Nelson AlgrenThe Auditorium Theatre a national historic landmark"Life at the Infamous Civil War Libby Prison," by Holly GoodbeyThe History of the CarouselThe Making of the Modern U.S. website, "Chicago's World's Fair 1893" about the significance of electrification at the FairPotter PalmerIda B. Wells-Barnett, by Arlisha R. Norwood on the National Women's History Museum websiteFrederick Douglass (c. 1818 - 1895) on the Biography websiteThe Redman's Rebuke, by Simon PokagonStuds Lonigan, by James T. Farrell Julian Hawthorne (1846 - 1934) the American writer and journalist and son fo the novelist Nathaniel HawthorneSteele McKaye actor, playwright, and inventor of the World's biggest TheaterEadweard Muybridge (1830 - 1904) known for pioneering work on motion and early motion picturesFrances Hodgson Burnett author of several children's novels including The Secret Garden (1911)







    Museum of Science and Industry todayThe building on the right as it was at the Columbian Exposition in 1893

    • 1 hr
    Episode 19 – The Third Star – Part I

    Episode 19 – The Third Star – Part I

    In 1893, Chicago is host to one of the most recognized and internationally famous world fairs, which honors the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in America. Granted it was a year later than planned, but it became known for the advancement and development of many companies and ideas. A specially built exposition landscape was created south of the then city limits in Jackson Park in what was the neighboring township of Hyde Park, which was annexed in 1891.







    The White City as this world's fair became know was the first major use of electricity, which lit the World's Columbian Exposition buildings and grounds from May 1st until October 30, 1893. This Fair is legendary to Chicago history and commemorated by the third star in the Chicago Flag. With our previous episode we learned about the many things that occurred in Chicago in 1893 and here we dive into the Fair and interview historian and writer Jeff Nichols with some snippets from a future interview with historian Paul Durica. This is the first installment in a three part mini-series on the World's Columbian Exposition and the White City. We hope you will enjoy it.







    Balloon on the Midway PlaisanceCover for Sheet Music from the FairCircus performers on the Midway PlaisanceThe U.S. Government Building at the FairColumbian Exposition Ferris WheelThe White City







    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    A Bird's Eye view of the World's Columbian Exposition is a great digital map on the Library of Congress' digital archivesA link to Jeff Nichols author page, including articles in the Chicago ReaderPaul Durica's Pocket Guide to Hell, i.e. ChicagoA history of the Alley L initiated for 1893 Chicago World's FairA history of the City Beautiful movementThe H. H. Holmes Hotel constructed by the infamous serial killer made popular in The Devil in the White City by Eric Larsen Frederick Douglass' speech at the World's Columbian Exposition A history on Ellis Bennett from the Chicago Reader, "A Story of Squatters' Rights, a House from the World's Fair, and a Remarkably Stubborn Man" by Jeff NicholsThe book World's Fair Notes: A Woman Journalist Views Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition, by Marion ShawAn article on "Buffalo Bill Goosed the World's Fair," by Matt BraunAlderman Johnny Powers"The War of the Currents" between Thomas Edison and Nicholas Tesla and the lighting the World's Columbian ExpositionThe New York Times review of the new biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

    • 1 hr
    Episode 18 – The Year 1893

    Episode 18 – The Year 1893

    For most historians if you mention Chicago and the year 1893, they will immediately think of the World's Colombian Exposition. However, there was much more going on in Chicago during that year that still resonates today. Beyond the excitement surrounding the Fair, 1893 was pivotal for the many new contributions, innovations, and changes that impacted the city and beyond. Many Chicago institutions we know today are tied to or originated during that year. A short list would include the first Chicago Cubs stadium, the tamale, the hot dog, Wrigley chewing gum, and much more.







    This monumental year holds many interesting stories well beyond the White City as a backdrop that was in direct contrast with Chicago's work-a-day world, some would call "Gray City." Join us in this episode for the extraordinary changes and important events of 1893, as we speak with historian and author Joe Gustaitis to set the scene for an upcoming episode focused on the Colombian Exposition and the White City.







    author Findley Peter Dunneauthor Henry Blake Fullerauthor George AdeMarshall FieldBusy State Street c.1893Swami Vivekananda









    Three successive buildings of the Marshall Field & Company Store on State StreetThe very first World's Parliament of Religions held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1893West Side Grounds from 1906 World Series Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox









    Links to Research and Historic Sources:







    1893, Chicago's Greatest Year, by Joseph Gustaitis Chicago Literary Renaissance, Encyclopedia of ChicagoA History of Midland Authors, Part 1, by Robert Loerzel on the Society of Midland AuthorsParliament of the World's Religions in 1893, from the Harvard University's Pluralism ProjectBio of Swami Vivekananda who brought Yoga to the United StatesBio of Julius RosenwaldMarshall Field & Company State Street Stores, ChicaogologyBio of Hamlin Garland who helped create The Attic Club, which two years later was renamed The Cliff Dwellers ClubSelfridge'sHistory of the Vienna Beef Co.The history of Chicago National League Ball Parks including the West Side Grounds on ChicagologyGeneral Santa Anna and chicleChicle the natural chewing gumHistory of the Wrigley Company, from the Made In Chicago websiteFrancis Willard House Museum & Archives in Evanston, ILWomen's (Bike) History Month: Francis Willard, by Liz MurphyCycling in Chicago, by Chris McAuliffe as reviewed by Zachary Schuster in Cyclocross Magazine

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Kermie95 ,

I feel like eavesdropping on a couple of history nerds coffee talk!

I’ve lived in and around Chicago all my life and I’m proud of its rich history. And I thought I knew a little bit about it. Boy was I ever wrong! This podcast goes deep and has really cool guests. I feel like eavesdropping on a couple of history nerds coffee talk! Looking forward to moving through the years with them!!!

ChiTownSunshine ,

Who knew we all had it wrong!?!

For anyone who considers themselves a ‘Chicago Nerd’, this is a great podcast with information that flips what you think you know about Chicago history upside down! Thankfully people have picked up researching the REAL history! Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed!

753spqr ,

Time will tell

Although I am not a Chicago native, I appreciate any podcast provided solid historical information.

At times, this podcast definitely does so. For that I am appreciative.

Unfortunately, the latest episode about Fort Dearborn was anything but. Within the first minute of the discussion the event was characterized as “American imperialism.“ Really?

True historians present objective information gleaned from a variety of sources and leave ideology to the audience. Let’s hope the producers of this podcast will do better in the future.

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