Tales of Forgotten Chicago contains twenty-one fascinating, little-known stories about a great city and its people. Richard C. Lindberg has dug deeply to reveal lost historical events and hidden gems from Chicago’s past.
Spanning the Civil War through the 1960s, the volume showcases forgotten crimes, punishments, and consequences: poisoned soup that nearly killed three hundred leading citizens, politicians, and business and religious leaders; a woman in showbiz and her street-thug husband whose checkered lives inspired a 1955 James Cagney movie; and the first police woman in Chicago, hired as a result of the senseless killing of a young factory girl in a racially tinged case of the 1880s.
Also included are tales of industry and invention, such as America’s first automobile race, the haunting of a wealthy Gilded Age manufacturer’s mansion, and the identity of the telephone’s rightful inventor. Chapters on the history of early city landmarks spotlight the fight to save Lakefront Park and how “Lucky” Charlie Weeghman’s north side baseball park became Wrigley Field. Other chapters explore civic, cultural, and political happenings: the great Railroad Fairs of 1948 and 1949; Richard J. Daley’s revival of the St. Patrick’s Day parade; political disrupter Lar “America First” Daly; and the founding of the Special Olympics in Chicago by Anne Burke and others. Finally, some are just wonderful tales, such asa touching story about the sinking of Chicago's beloved Christmas tree ship.
Engrossing and imaginative, this collection opens new windows into the past of the Windy City.
About the Author
Richard C. Lindberg is an award-winning author, journalist, and lecturer who has written nineteen other books about Chicago history, politics, criminal justice, sports, and ethnicity. The 2011 memoir of his Northwest Side boyhood, Whiskey Breakfast: My Swedish Family, My American Life, was named nonfiction book of the year by the Chicago Writer’s Association.
"Reading Richard Lindberg’s new book Tales of Forgotten Chicago is like spending the afternoon exploring Chicago’s attic. Nestled in amongst the holiday decorations and old suitcases are people, places, and events that were once the talk of the Windy City, but have since slipped from civic memory."—Dana Dunham, Chicago Review of Books
"Each story is so well researched and so rich in details that the book is best read in small bites, so you can savor the specifics and maybe plan an excursion to some historical sites you didn't get to on those grade-school field trips. Tales of Forgotten Chicago is ideal for those new to Chicago who want to immerse themselves in what is truly special about this town, or for long-timers who wish to add to their collection of "only-in-Chicago" stories to impress out of towners."—Wayne Turmel, Windy City Reviews
“An inherently fascinating read from first page to last, Tales of Forgotten Chicago is an extraordinary work of investigative scholarship that could well serve as a template for similar volumes showcasing the colorful history of other major American cities. An absolutely and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library American History collections in general, and Chicago History supplemental studies lists in particular.”—James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
“This book goes both deeper and broader than other Chicago history books to shine a well-deserved spotlight on lesser known yet significant and fascinating people, places, and events related to the development of the city. Lindberg is one of Chicago’s most popular historians, so it’s no surprise that this smorgasbord of stories is authoritative yet easy to read, important yet entertaining, somewhat familiar yet surprising. This book is full of engaging pleasures. It’s a must-read for anyone drawn to Chicago history.”—Greg Borzo, author of Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains
“Tales of Forgotten Chicago is a compilation of stories of a little-known other side of Chicago—a side that is infinitely more interesting than one more book about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”—Richard F. Bales, author of The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow