History in the Chicago Loop
Trivia

720 South Michigan Avenue

Cynthia Plaster Caster and Jimi Hendrix

At the Chicago Hilton located here at 720 South Michigan Avenue on February 26, 1968, Cynthia Caster, who was born in Chicago in 1947 as Cynthia Albritton, famously made a plaster cast of Jimi Hendrix's penis.  Not exactly a momentous occasion in the history of rock and roll, but so bizarre that it's inclusion on the domu Chicago History Map seemed obvious.  Click at your own risk.

220 South Michigan Avenue

Edith Lees Ellis Delivers "Sexuality And Eugenics" Speech

Edith Lees Ellis, a British women's rights activist and admitted lesbian, married sexologist Havelock Ellis in November 1891, in what must have been a bizarre marriage.  She had numerous affairs with other women, with her husband's knowledge.  In 1915, she delivered a lecture entitled "Sexuality And Eugenics," in which she advocated the acceptance of homosexuality before 1,500 people right here at Orchestra Hall, 220 South Michigan Avenue.

64 West Madison Street

Forum Cafeteria

One of the biggest and most popular eateries in Chicago history, the Forum Cafeteria operated at 64 West Madison Street from 1939 to 1973.  The cafeteria was an immense, deco-inspired space with colorful tropical murals, sleek glasswork, and seating for hundreds, including a mezzanine level where diners could seat themselves at communal tables for twelve. 

Read more
111 South Michigan Avenue

Hugh Hefner First Sees A Naked Woman

No, it wasn't at a photo shoot for his magazine.  Playboy founder Hugh Hefner actually saw a fully nude woman for the very first time as a 20 year-old student attending a drawing class at the Art Institute of Chicago at 111 South Michigan Avenue in 1946, according to Chicago Magazine.

416 North State Street

John Dillinger at State and Austin Tavern

Bureau agents tried to trap notorious bankrobber John Dillinger in a bar at 416 North State Street on April 9, 1934, but the infamous bandit managed to slip away unnoticed.  The agents captured his girlfriend, Evelyn "Billie" Frechette instead.

Clark Street Bridge; Dearborn and Hubbard Streets

Lager Beer Riot

On April 21, 1855, Chicago's very first civil disturbance occurred because of--you guessed it--alcohol.  Newly elected Mayor Levi Boone increased the fee for liquor licenses and enforced an ordinance requiring taverns and saloons to be closed on Sundays.  When tavern owners were arrested for noncompliance, armed north side Germans attempted to rescue the prisoners from the courthouse.  

Read more
157 South Michigan Avenue

Marriage of Potter and Bertha Palmer

Chicago capitalist and hotelier Potter Palmer wedded Bertha Honore in Bertha's parents' home at 157 South Michigan Avenue in July of 1870.  (A massive office building, once home to Peoples Gas Company, was erected on the site between 1908 and 1911.)  At the time of the wedding, Potter was 44 years old, and Bertha was 21.  

Read more
141 West Jackson Boulevard

Soul Train

Don Cornelius was born on September 27, 1936, and raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago.  He graduated from Du Sable High School in 1954, joined the United States Marine Corps, and served 18 months in Korea before returning home and marrying his high school sweetheart, Delores Harrison.  He sold insurance, he sold tires, and he sold cars, but it was his work as a policeman that changed history.  

Read more
West Jackson Boulevard and North Michigan Avenue

Starting Point of Route 66

Historic Route 66, America's most famous highway, starts right here in downtown Chicago.  It was established on November 11, 1926, at West Jackson Boulevard and North Michigan Avenue, and travelers could ride it all the way to Los Angeles, California.  Get your kicks on Route 66!

32 North State Street

The Hobo Doctor

Dr. Ben Reitman was commonly referred to as "The Hobo Doctor" because, aside from having lived as both a "hobo" and an anarchist, having served time in jail, and having advocated (and practiced) "free love," he also treated prostitutes and tramps for syphilis and performed unlawful abortions in his office at 32 North State Street at the Reliance Building during the 1930's.  Dr. Reitman also helped the city establish the Chicago Society for the Prevention of Venereal Diseases.

105 s. water street

First Telegraph Received in Chicago

The first telegraph received in Chicago was on December 7, 1848. The text read: "My boat is on Ottowa level will you have this break repaired so I can get through. --D.E. Oakley" according to the encyclopedia of chicago, "In early December 1848 it was urgent for boats to exit the canal so that it could be drained before freezing weather arrived."

22 west van buren street

Triumph Gym

This gym served as the setting for photos shot for Mars Magazine, a short-lived gay publication from 1963.

Pages