History in Hyde Park Chicago
Vintage Restaurants

1327-1331, E 57th St

Medici 57

"The Medici," then a coffee house and gallery, was purchased in 1962 by a recent University of Chicago business school graduate named Hans Morsbach for the low, low price of $1,700.00.  Morsbach was born near Munich, Germany, in 1932, but emigrated to the United States with his family in 1951. 

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5500 S Cornell Ave

Morry's Deli

In 1950, Morry Orman opened a delicatessen at the southwest corner of 55th Street and Cornell Avenue in the heart of Hyde Park, and Chicagoans are still enjoying his legendary sandwiches at 5500 South Cornell Avenue today.  Morry's children all helped out at the restaurant after school, including his daughter Suzy, who became a nationally-renowned financial advisor, television host, and author.  The atmosphere is authentic, and the clientele are deeply devoted.

1172 E 55th St

The Woodlawn Tap (Jimmy's)

It's marginally a restaurant, but it's been around so long and enjoyed so much notoriety that it simply can't be ignored.  The Woodlawn Tap, at 1172 East 55th Street, was one of many bars and taverns along a lively strip of 55th Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago when Jimmy Wilson, a popular local bartender, acquired the business in 1948 and made it his own. 

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1518 E 53rd St


Valois (pronounced "Valloys" by the locals) has been serving up heaping portions for bargain prices since 1921.  The cafeteria-style eatery was originally opened at 55th Street and Harper Avenue by William Valois, who previously worked as the chef at the Chicago Beach Hotel. 

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History in Hyde Park Chicago

5046 South Greenwood Avenue

Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, won election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, and won the presidential election against Republican nominee John McCain in 2008.  Obama was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.  He won re-election against Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and was inaugurated for a second term on January 21, 2013.  

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5210 South Kenwood Avenue

Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht was a prolific Hollywood screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist.  He served as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News in 1916 and was the first screenwriter to receive an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.  Hecht founded his own newspaper, The Chicago Literary Times, in his home, which was located at 5210 South Kenwood Avenue.

1380 East Madison Avenue Park

Bill Veeck Chicago

During Bill Veeck's career as a baseball owner, he headed the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns (now Baltimore Orioles), and the Chicago White Sox (twice).  Known as the "fan's owner," Veeck started "bat day," created the exploding scoreboard at Comiskey Park, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.  He was also a front-office assistant with the Cubs and planted the ivy at Wrigley Field in 1937.  

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1537 East 60th Street

Clarence Darrow

Attorney Clarence Darrow resided here at 1537 East 60th Street, although it's nothing but a parking lot today.  Darrow is best known for being the defense attorney in the "Leopold and Loeb" murder trial in 1924, in which his eloquent attack on the death penalty saved the lives of the teenage defendants.  He also defended school teacher John T. Scopes in the famous 1925 "Scopes Monkey Trial."

1642 East 56th Street

Edna Ferber

Novelist Edna Ferber came to Chicago to be a journalist at the Chicago Tribune in 1910.  One of her novels, "So Big," won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924.  She resided at 1642 East 56th Street, though she eventually moved to New York and wrote "Show Boat," which was adapted into an award-winning musical in 1927 with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.  Ferber is best known for her 1952 novel "Giant," which was adapted into a feature film in 1956.

5337 South Woodlawn Avenue

Enrico and Laura Fermi

Enrico Fermi and his wife, Laura, resided at 5337 South Woodlawn Avenue.  At the University of Chicago, Fermi produced the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, which led to his work on the Manhattan Project--the project that developed the atomic bomb.  Laura Fermi was a writer and political activist.  Fermilab, the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratory in Batavia, is named for Enrico Fermi.

5300 South Shore Drive

Harold Washington

Harold Washington, who was Chicago's first African American mayor, resided at 5300 South Shore Drive.  He served 15 years in the Illinois state legislature and one and a half terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming mayor in 1983.

1554 East 61st Street

John Dewey

Philosopher John Dewey founded the laboratory School at the University of Chicago in 1896, emphasizing his belief that school should be an extension of everyday life.  Dewey lived at 1554 East 61st Street with his wife until they moved to New York in 1904.  He is largely recognized as one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology. 

58th Street and Kenwood Avenue

John Paul Stevens

John Paul Stevens is a former United States Supreme Court Associate Justice.  Appointed by President Gerald R. Ford, Stevens served from 1975 to 2010, the third-longest tenure in the Court's history.  When he retired, Stevens was the second-oldest Supreme Court Justice in history.  A lifelong Cubs fan, he attended the 1932 World Series game in which Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot at Wrigley Field.

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4901 South Ellis Avenue

Julius Rosenwald

Businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald was chairman of the Sears, Roebuck & Company mail-order business.  He created the Rosenwald Foundation to help African-Americans and European Jews, and he pledged $3 million toward the creation of the Museum of Science and Industry.  In 1903, he built his home at 4901 South Ellis Avenue.

60th Street and Ellis Avenue

Lorado Taft

Lorado Taft, who resided at 60th Street and Ellis Avenue, designed many large-scale public works.

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4575 South Lake Park Avenue

Louis Sullivan

Architect Louis Sullivan is hailed as the "prophet of modern architecture."  He designed the Auditorium Theatre and the Carson Pirie Scott & Company store, among several others.  He paired with Dankmar Adler to design many historic buildings.  He lived in a house he designed (think he wouldn't?) at 4575 South Lake Park Avenue from 1892 to 1896.

4339 south lake park avenue

Muddy Waters

"The Father of Chicago Blues," McKinley Morganfield (aka "Muddy Waters") sang and played his way to the top of the Chicago blues scene in the 1950s.  He recorded his biggest hit, "Rollin' Stone," at Chess Records in 1952.  He rehearsed in the basement of his two-flat at 4339 south lake park avenue with other blues musicians.  Rolling Stone placed muddy Waters at 17 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

5650 South Blackstone Avenue

Paul Douglas

U.S. Senator Paul Douglas spent 18 years in office, and, as an economist at the University of Chicago, spearheaded the creation of a U.S. labor party.  Douglas served in the Marines during World War II and returned to political life in 1948.  According to the Chicago Tribute Project, he proposed campaign finance reform in the 1940's and worked on both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  

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History in Hyde Park Chicago
Columbian Exposition

Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Administration Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Administration Building was located in Jackson Park.  American architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the gigantic edifice, which had four attached pavilions--each one with an entrance measuring 50 feet by 50 feet.  The building's octagonal dome was coated with aluminum bronze and stretched 275 feet into the sky.  Gilded letters with the names of the nations participating at the fair decorated the interior of the dome.

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Agriculture Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Agriculture Building was in Jackson Park.  New York architecture firm McKim, Mead, and White designed the sprawling edifice, which was 800 feet long and 500 feet wide, occupying approximately 10 acres in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds.  More than 550 American companies and 33 states set up shop on the main floor.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Electrical Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Electrical Building was located here.  Inside were "the most novel and brilliant exhibits of the exposition," according to the fair's official guidebook.  The architectural firm Van Brunt & Howe designed the building in Spanish renaissance style.  When the 1893 exposition occurred there was a major shift from steam power to electric power, so electricity was a major attraction at the fair.  

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Midway Plaisance between Greenwood and Lexington (now University)

Columbian Exposition - Ferris Wheel

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the first ferris wheel was located at the Midway Plaisance between Greenwood and Lexington (now University).  The ferris wheel was one of many things to make its world debut at the world's fair. Its designer, George Washington Gale Ferris, wanted the wheel to outshine the Eiffel Tower, which was the pride of the 1889 exposition in Paris.  The wheel was 264 feet tall and rotated on a 71-ton, 45.5-foot axle.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Fisheries Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Fisheries Building was located here at Jackson Park.  At 162 feet by 362 feet, the Fisheries Building was the smallest of the "great buildings" at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.  Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb designed the Romanesque-inspired building, which cost $225,000 to construct.  Ten large aquariums and dozens of smaller ones were inside, filled with 140,000 gallons of water.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Horticultural Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Horticultural Building was located at Jackson Park.  It was designed by Chicago architecture firm Jenney & Mundie, was 998 feet long and 250 feet wide, and cost $300,000 to build.  It contained eight greenhouses measuring 24 feet by 800 feet.  Inside were more than five acres of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Machinery Hall

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Machinery Hall was located at Jackson Park.  Boston architectural firm Peabody and Stearns designed Machinery Hall, also known as the Palace of Mechanical A.  It was 846 feet long and 492 feet wide, and its floor space exceeded 23 acres.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building was located in Jackson Park Chicago.  At the time of the fair, the building was the largest structure in the world.  It was 1,687 feet long, 787 feet wide, and contained 44 acres of exhibits.  Its designer was George B. Post, who also designed the New York Stock Exchange Building, the New York Hospital, and the Wisconsin State Capitol.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Mines and Mining Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Mines and Mining Building was at Jackson Park.  This building displayed America's mineral wealth.  There was coal and iron from the Alleghenies, phosphates from Florida, silver and lead from the Rocky Mountains, copper from Michigan, and gold from California.  Frick Coal & Coke, Standard Oil, and Bethlehem Steel had major exhibits in the building too.  

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Jackson Park

Columbian Exposition - Transportation Building

During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Transportation Building was located here.  Chicago architecture firm Adler & Sullivan designed the building, which cost $300,000 to build, according to the exposition's official catalogue.  An elaborately decorated golden arch surrounded the main entrance, and the interior design resembled a Roman basilica. Planners divided the exhibits into three parts: railway, marine, and vehicle.  

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