Research + Inspiration


We thought we’d share some of the things we discovered in our research and project conceptualization.  We were most interested in the thirty or so years after the fire (1871 – early 1900s), when many of these neighborhoods garnered an influx of people.  In that same time period falls early Vaudeville and other forms of American Traveling Show.  Although focused on those histories, we are also exploring connections and parallels with current events, community issues, and personal stories.  Below is just a sampling of various references.  Enjoy!

We also kept a tumblr site for visual inspiration:

General Chicago History

We visited the Chicago History Museum!  It has some great archives (digital, too): http://chicagohistory.orghistory-museum

Forgotten Chicago (documentation of architecture and little known remnants of historical Chicago):

Chicago maps from the 1860s, 70s, and 80s (University of Chicago archive):

Social Science Maps of Chicago (University of Chicago archive):

Encyclopedia of Chicago:

A wonderful interactive archive of Chicago Fire information (Chicago Historical Society + Northwestern University):

The Dramas of Haymarket (from the Chicago Historical Society):

Biking the Boulevards with Geoffrey Baer:,3

Take a Virtual Walk through Chicago’s Labor Trail


On Pilsen

Encyclopedia of Chicago, Lower West Side entry (overview history of area):

The Pilsen Community Market:

The Growing Station community garden:

The Pilsen Portal (for News and Events):

Pilsen Alianza Verde:

Labor Heroes:

Eight Hours song (used in the labor movement for the 8-hour workday):

An entry into Pilsen’s history of community activism:

On Logan Square/Humboldt

Logan Square Preservation Society’s site (with a little history):

A Chicago Reader article on the history of Logan Square:

Logan Square Farmer’s Market:


Blog about connecting people with place in the Logan Square community:

Logan Square bike tour (documentation):

Historical Memoir of the Jefferson Ice Company (President, John E. Rustman, commissioned John Ahlschlager to build his Logan Boulevard home in 1907):

A little history about Schwinn Bikes (Ignaz Schwinn build his mansion on the corner of Palmer and Humboldt boulevards):

A tiny mention of Antoni Jax, Polish composer who lived in Avondale around turn of the century:

On Ukrainian Village/East Village/West Town

Encyclopedia of Chicago, West Town entry (overview history of the area):

West Town Chamber of Commerce:

Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association:

Polish Museum of America:

On Roscoe Village/North CenterRiverview Park

The Center Square Journal (Neighborhood news):

History of the Riverview Amusement Park:

Great photos of Riverview Amusement Park by the Chicago Tribune:,0,2410358.photogallery

WGN News story remembering Riverview Park:

A little book Pete Leki wrote about how to be neighborly for the Riverbank Neighbors (concerned with the North Branch of the Chicago River restoration):

On Vaudeville

Library of Congress’s YouTube Channel for Vaudeville and Variety Stage:

Library of Congress, American Variety Stage 1870 – 1920 archives:

A History of Vaudeville (with excerpts of acts):