Category Archives: Illinois / regional

On May 4, 1927, balloonist Hawthorne C. Gray, a captain in the Army Air Corps, reached new heights in human endeavor. Literally. Taking off from Scott Field near Belleville, Gray ascended to 42,270 feet in a silk, rubberized, aluminum-coated balloon. … Continue reading

On May 1, 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago and soon took its place among the magnificent public entertainments of the modern age. The following is an excerpt from Chicago’s Grand Midway, by Norman Bolotin with Christine Laing, a walking tour … Continue reading

Today marks the birthday of famed sculptor Lorado Taft, born in 1860 in Elmwood, Illinois. A graduate of the Illinois Industrial University—forerunner of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Taft studied in France before returning to Chicago to make his reputation and … Continue reading

On this day in 1947, the City of New Orleans made its first run between the Chicago and the Crescent City on the Illinois Central line. The City traveled the early 921-mile route in the daytime in those days. The Panama Limited was … Continue reading

On April 25, 1980, longtime Rockford congressman and powerful House leader John B. Anderson launched his independent campaign for the presidency.  Today, April 26, marks the anniversary of his first full day out on the stump. Unlike most people who run … Continue reading

One of the state’s lesser-known catastrophes, the Naperville Train Crash on April 25, 1946 marked a turning point in the town’s history. In those days half-rural, with some of its pioneer-era buildings still standing, Naperville bore little resemblance to its … Continue reading

Enjoy another in our series of posts on how university presses and other small publishing concerns can enjoy greater financial security by creating new revenue streams. The introductory post is here. A second post is here. There’s another one here. Years ago in Vancouver, … Continue reading

Dick Simpson, co-author of Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality, recently sat down with Dan Proft on the latest edition of Against the Current to talk about the history of Chicago politics and the reforms the city needs. Check out … Continue reading

On April 19, 1928, Illinois held its last public hanging as bootlegger Charlie Birger went up the rope in Benton on a spring morning. (We’ve published a book that tells his story.) For years, he had fought it out with his violent rivals … Continue reading

Feel the breeze as you wander among the cottonwoods. To your left, the burble of the great river. To your right, forests busy with rabbit and beaver, where bald eagles build nests in the peaks, the better to keep an … Continue reading