You might know the Iroquois Theater Fire happened in 1903, but do you know the name of the assistant chief usher called to testify after?
Sure, you know that the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was at the U of C campus, but do you know what sport the room was originally made for?
Part of this project is to get people interested in the historical resources around us every day, to show that history is a live, breathing thing.
That and the fact my cute little sneezy cold has morphed into a broad, hacking bronchitis and I wanted a story I could write indoors led to today’s challenge, 13 of the most fiendishly obscure questions my cold medicine-addled brain could muster.
This being the Internet, you can find all these answers in seconds with a few well-chosen keywords. But the point of this is exploration, to give you an excuse to crack into the Chicago Collections Consortium’s historical photographs for the Iroquois Theater usher or WBEZ’s Curious City for the location of “Chicago Pile 1.” (Those two are on the house.)
Search within the collections, of course. But while Phineas H. Google has made a heck of a site, this will be more fun for you the deeper in you dig.
All of the answers can be found at one or more of the following sites:
- 1,001 Chicago Afternoons
- Atlas Obscura
- Curious City
- Chicago Collections Consortium
- The Chicago History Museum, Building and House History
- Mysterious Chicago
In disclosure, I contribute to Atlas Obscura for fun (no money changes hands, alas). I also am included in the Chicago History Museum’s ongoing “Chicago Authored” exhibit and am participating in a professional development event for teachers on April 2.
Other than that, I have no connection to any of these sites other than that I like ‘em. And I would straight up kill a man to get a job with WBEZ’s Curious City.
Seriously, who do you want done? One of those WFMT guys? Consider it handled.
Enjoy! Answers Friday.
1. Assistant chief usher of the Iroquois Theater, seen in news photos following the fire.
2. The first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, located underneath the University of Chicago’s football field, was in a room originally constructed for this sport.
3. Her husband signed away her objections to the Art Institute.
4. A mysterious submarine found in the river, maybe.
5. The only newspaper to make deadline after the Great Chicago Fire.
6. This obscure library at the Leather Archives and Museum has a flowery name.
7. The exciting voice of this person appeared at the Cairo Supper Club in this Egyptomania photo.
8. You can find the records of the Jane Dent Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People at this library.
9. When the Loop addresses were converted to the new numbering system in 1911, the Hotel Princess at 267 S. Clark St. got this as its new address.
10. This Uptown silent movie studio produced both early Sherlock Holmes movies and the world’s first pie in the face.
11. Three werewolves from this area of the Baltic are killing time waiting for prey in a South Loop statue. One has a book.
12. “Kitchen Klenzer” was advertised for this much in the storefront window in a 1963 photograph of a drugstore at Drexel and 47th.
13. Researchers found this species of bat living under the boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Bonus points for finding out from a particular interactive display on a certain radio station’s website. (Edit 3:34 p.m. March 9: The article connected with the interactive element mentions more species than the interactive element did. Name either the species listed in the interactive, or the number of species mentioned in the article.)
Think you’ve got it? Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.