WBEZ | Old Town http://www.wbez.org/tags/old-town Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tensions and torches after the Great Chicago Fire http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tensions-and-torches-after-great-chicago-fire-110908 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171250855&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The Great Chicago Fire has been a key part of Chicago&rsquo;s identity since the fateful dry, windy night of October 8, 1871, when the O&rsquo;Leary barn caught on fire. The blaze is represented by one of the stars on the city&rsquo;s flag. It&rsquo;s cited as the reason Chicago became a beacon of innovative architecture. And, it&rsquo;s often referenced with pride as an example of Chicago&rsquo;s indomitable, can-do spirit.</p><p>But University of Chicago history major Angela Lee asked us to skip all that. Instead, she asked us this question, which gets to a less-commonly discussed aspect of the disaster &mdash; how it affected residents&rsquo; relationships with each other.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How did the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 affect where Chicago&rsquo;s wealthy and poor lived?</em></p><p>Significant gaps in the historical record create problems answering this question with much precision, but there is a lot to learn. Among other things: Chicagoans at the time were uneasy when it came to the mixing of the social classes. And months after the fire, social tensions were stoked by &mdash; of all things &mdash; the type of materials available to rebuild.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Before the blaze</span></p><p>In 1870 Chicago was home to 298,977 people. Lacking modern zoning and planning sensibilities, the city was also a hodgepodge; homes, businesses, and even small manufacturing establishments were located near each other. According to Anne Durkin Keating, professor of history at North Central College, Chicago&rsquo;s working class and poorer areas tended to be near the river, on undesirable polluted land and close to jobs. The neighborhood where the fire began on the South Side, for example, was packed with small, wooden homes of immigrants according to Karen Sawislak, the author of <em>Smoldering City: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871-1874</em>.</p><p>The wealthy were also spread out, often near the emerging central business district, Keating says. One wealthy enclave was north of the river, centered around Washington Square Park on the Near North side. Large homes in that area were owned by families with familiar names like McCormick, Ogden, and Kinzie. Another wealthy enclave that was not affected by the fire was Prairie Avenue between 18th and 20th Streets.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">During this era Chicago also had a large immigrant population, many of whom were homeowners. &ldquo;Rates of immigrant home ownership from 1850 to 1920 were incredibly high,&rdquo; says Elaine Lewinnek, the author of <em>The Working Man&rsquo;s Reward: Chicago&rsquo;s Early Suburbs and the Roots of American Sprawl</em>. In some of the city&rsquo;s poorest neighborhoods (as well as some areas just beyond its border), she says, home ownership rates among the working class neared 95 percent. &ldquo;It was really this immigrant-led American dream. It trickled up.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/fire+demographics+story/burned+district+map+larger.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/burned district map for story.jpg" title="An illustration in Richard's Illustrated shows the districts of Chicago affected by the Great Fire. 1871. (Photo courtesy Newberry Library)" /></a></div></div><p>In contrast, renting was common among wealthy people with deeper roots in the country. &ldquo;Native-born Americans weren&rsquo;t so interested in owning homes. There was more prestige in some renting areas,&rdquo; Lewinnek says.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">After the fire, an &lsquo;awful democracy of the hour&rsquo;</span></p><p>Many accounts concerning the fire have been preserved in personal letters. Mrs. Aurelia R. King penned a note to friends that reads:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The wind was like a tornado, and I held fast to my little ones, fearing they would be lifted from my sight. I could only think of Sodom or Pompeii, and truly I thought the day of judgement had come. It seemed as if the whole world were running like ourselves, fire all around us, and where should we go? &hellip; Yet we are so thankful that if we were to be afflicted, it is only by the loss of property. Our dear ones are all alive and well, and we are happy.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>During chaos of the fire, people from all walks of life fled their homes with a few treasured possessions and valuables. They waited for the fire to pass wherever they could: in the lake, on the prairie, in parks and in tunnels. People even sought shelter in abandoned graves. Bodies had been removed from City Cemetery years earlier, but the actual graves had not yet been filled in. These empty graves made a convenient, if creepy, place to seek shelter.</p><p>The usual divisions between groups of people vanished as Chicagoans endured this epic fire together. In fact, this jumble of different types of people was an element of <em>why</em> the fire was so distressing to some. &ldquo;This is the Victorian age. It was a time when people wanted their spatial separations to be clear. It wasn&rsquo;t clear right after the fire, part of the pressure in rebuilding is to make things clearer,&rdquo; Lewinnek says.</p><p>Reverend E. P. Roe later recalled the tunnel under the Chicago River at LaSalle Street: &ldquo;There jostled the refined and delicate lady, who, in the awful democracy of the hour, brushed against thief and harlot. &hellip; Altogether it was a strange, incongruous, writhing mass of humanity, such as the world had never looked upon, pouring into what might seem in its horrors, the mouth of hell.&rdquo;</p><p>When the fire finally stopped, rumors swirled about more potential trouble. Survivor Ebon Matthews recalled &ldquo;one who was not an eyewitness can hardly imagine the fears of incendiarism, looting, etc., which prevailed. Stories of all kinds were afoot concerning thefts, murders, and the like.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CHM illustration.jpg" title="Witnesses recounted avoiding the flames for two days. Image: Scene on the Prairie, Monday night. Alfred R. Waud, Pencil, Chalk, and Paint Drawing, 1871 (Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)" /></div></div></div><p>According to Sawislak, there was an undercurrent of uncertainty about what could happen next. Yet, she says, after the first couple of days passed things were orderly. &ldquo;After reading through records of contemporaneous accounts, you sense this huge fear of disorder, further explosion and disruption in the aftermath, but really everyone who was charged with public safety is kind of constantly saying: &lsquo;You know? It&rsquo;s really quiet. People are going about their business and being very helpful.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Military presence</span></p><p>Nevertheless, a feeling of unease remained. &ldquo;Very quickly business leaders in the city basically prevailed upon the mayor to cede civic authority over peacekeeping in the aftermath of the fire, and give it to the army. It became a military operation commanded by General Philip Sheridan,&rdquo; Sawislak says.</p><p>According to an account in historian Carl Smith&rsquo;s <em><a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/U/bo5625323.html" target="_blank">Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman</a></em>, former Lieutenant Governor William Bross recalled &ldquo;Never did deeper emotions of joy overcome me. Thank God, those most dear to me and the city as well are safe.&rdquo; Bross said without Sheridan&rsquo;s &ldquo;prompt, bold and patriotic action, &hellip; what was left of the city would have been nearly if not quite entirely destroyed by the cutthroats and vagabonds who flocked here like vultures from every point of the compass.&rdquo;</p><p>This brief period of defacto martial law was controversial. &ldquo;His soldiers mostly were stationed to patrol the ruins of the banks and the hotels and the big commercial structures and safeguard what they thought was wealth that was sort of buried in the rubble. But they didn&rsquo;t go to work handing out food or helping people clean up the damage or building structures for temporary shelter. That was not considered to be part of their job,&rdquo; Sawislak says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re not really there to help. They&rsquo;re there to guard, and that&rsquo;s a whole different project.&rdquo;</p><p>In 1872 Elijah Haines, a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, spoke to that body about the brief military presence in Chicago. &ldquo;They are men with bayonets, bringing complete military armament. For what purpose? For war?&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Smith does note that General Sheridan &ldquo;requisitioned relief rations and supplies from St. Louis.&rdquo;</p><p>He also describes an incident that may have hastened the end of this period of military involvement. &ldquo;Theodore Treat, a twenty-year-old college student on volunteer curfew duty, shot Thomas W. Grosvenor, who died the next morning. Grosvenor was a former Civil War officer and successful lawyer&rdquo; Smith writes. He continues, &ldquo;Grosvenor may in fact have been a victim of the false reports of rampant criminality that put Treat fatally on edge.&rdquo; &nbsp;Three days later, on October 23rd, 1871, General Sheridan resigned from his temporary post overseeing Chicago&rsquo;s security.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The class and ethnic divide</span></p><p>As Chicago emerged from this tense environment, the city discussed how to rebuild the burnt district. Foremost on some people&rsquo;s minds: preventing a similar disaster to the one they had just endured. This school of thought proposed new building rules, the most strident being that, for safety&rsquo;s sake, only brick and stone would be allowed for construction within the city limits. The problem with this idea? Wood was cheap. For the immigrant homeowners on the North Side, maintaining their homes trumped even fire safety.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/fire+demographics+story/lincolnParkLarger.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/smaller%20lincoln%20park%20refuge.jpg" title="Illustration from Harper's Weekly featuring refugees in Lincoln Park during the Chicago Fire of 1871. (Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)" /></a></div></div></div><p>&ldquo;People were furious,&rdquo; Lewinnek says, &ldquo;especially the German and Irish immigrants who lived on the North Side who had been most burned out by the fire, were furious they might not be able to rebuild.&rdquo; They tended not to have reliable insurance and felt they wouldn&rsquo;t be able to afford to keep their land if wood construction was not allowed. &ldquo;They&rsquo;d say things like: &lsquo;We don&rsquo;t care if the city burns again, we need our own houses,&rsquo;&rdquo; Lewinnek says. Populations affected included those of German, Irish and Scandinavian background.</p><p>Karen Sawislak says, circling this debate was a hard question: Who&rsquo;s a good American? &ldquo;It was the immigrant community, specifically Germans, Scandinavians, who pushed hard to not have the fire limits extended over their neighborhoods, because effectively that would have meant that some very large percentage wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to rebuild any time soon or possibly at all, because of the expense of construction with stone or brick,&rdquo; she says. She adds that it became a political fight over &ldquo;the right to better yourself in your new country through this hard work and investment you&rsquo;ve made versus the need to protect a bigger, more abstract public from another possible disaster.&rdquo;</p><p>This conflict came to a dramatic head on Monday night, January 15, 1872. Immigrants gathered and marched by torch light to City Hall. Reports vary between the local English language newspapers and the foreign language papers, but Lewinnek says between 2,000 and 10,000 people marched to city hall. They carried signs with slogans like, &ldquo;No Fire Limitz [sic] at the North Site,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Leave a House for the Laborur.&rdquo; Again, reports vary about what happened when they arrived at City Hall. The German-language <em>Staats-Zeitung</em> wrote that six windows were broken, while the <em>Chicago Times</em> declared &ldquo;ALL THE WINDOWS BROKEN,&rdquo; and called the event &ldquo;the most disgraceful riot which ever visited Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>In the end, the North Side immigrants won the right to re-build with wood on their existing property. Areas north of Chicago Avenue and west of Wells Street and Lincoln Avenue were outside the new fire limits. After another significant fire in 1874, the fire limits were finally extended to the city, according to Elaine Lewinnek.</p><p>By that time, most of the North Side immigrants had managed to rebuild their homes, and so their wooden homes were &ldquo;grandfathered in&rdquo; according to Lewinnek.</p><p>In terms of how the fire changed the layout of Chicago, existing trends quickened. In general, property owners and even wealthy renters tended to remain where they were before the fire. Suburbs continued to grow. Distinct districts &mdash; residential, manufacturing, and the downtown area &mdash; developed. Downtown land prices rose.</p><p>Also after the fire, Chicago&rsquo;s population changed. The Relief and Aid Society had given out free rail passes to people who wanted to leave town after the fire. Some left, while new residents arrived. &ldquo;Immediately after the fire 30,000 people moved to Chicago to help rebuild it. So you don&rsquo;t actually have the exact same population,&rdquo; Lewinnek says. Many of these newcomers rented or lived in suburbs. The city&rsquo;s population grew from just under 300,000 in 1870 before the fire to 503,185 in 1880. (As of the most recent census, in 2010, Chicago&rsquo;s population numbered 2,695,598. Chicago&rsquo;s highest census number was recorded in 1950, with 3,620,962 residents.)</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Telling silence, shared memory</span></p><p>Since the fire, of course, this era has been remembered as a triumphant moment in the city&rsquo;s history. In 1872 Frank Luzerne published a work titled <em>The Lost City! Drama of the Fire-Fiend! or Chicago, As It Was, and As It Is! and its Glorious Future!</em>. Citing nearly 5,000 newly-issued building permits, Luzerne wrote &ldquo;there will be no interruption in the work of rebuilding until the new Chicago arises from the ashes of the old, in more substantial grandeur, rehabilitated, immeasurably improved, and all the better for her thorough purification.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rebuilding 2.jpg" title="Before the fire wood construction was common but afterwards it was proscribed in much of the city. Image: The Rebuilding of the Marine Building; Glass Lantern Slide, ca. 1873. ichi-02845 (Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)" /></div></div><p>Sawislak takes issue with this narrative. &ldquo;Basically, I think that the Chicago fire is this very proud moment in the city&rsquo;s history, but it&rsquo;s a very heavily mythologized history,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;In many ways the disaster very much reinforced existing barriers between classes, between ethnicities.&rdquo;</p><p>Events surrounding the fire were extensively documented, but significant segments of the population were not included in that process and therefore their experiences were lost to history, Sawislak says. There are a wealth of first-person accounts of the fire, but says they were written only by people of means. &ldquo;We have very few records from working class people that are contemporaneous accounts of the fire,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s actually rather hard to find a record of how most Chicagoans experienced this signature event in the history of the city.&rdquo;</p><p>This imbalance, Sawislak argues, extends even to the estimated three hundred people who died in the fire. &ldquo;Even the fact that it&rsquo;s always an estimate tells you something,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Most victims &mdash; virtually all &mdash; were working class, immigrants, in very densely packed immigrant neighborhoods that were most impacted by the early stages of the fire on the South Side.&rdquo; Even following years of research, Sawislak says she&rsquo;s never discovered a comprehensive list of names of the deceased.</p><p>Combine this, she says, with the fact that the working poor left behind so few written accounts of the fire, and you&rsquo;re struck with an uncomfortable truth.</p><p>&ldquo;The silences are really kind of what&rsquo;s telling.&rdquo; she says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/angela%20lee%20photo.jpg" style="float: left; height: 268px; width: 200px;" title="(Photo courtesy Angela Lee)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p>Angela Lee thinks a lot about cities, history, and demographics. She&rsquo;s originally from New York City. &ldquo;I&#39;ve only lived in cities,&quot; she says. &quot;I&#39;ve always been curious about why certain neighborhoods are located where they are, and why the divisions can be so extreme sometimes.&rdquo;</p><p>Her interest in where people live is long-standing. She began paying attention to real estate when she was just ten years old, she says. Now she&rsquo;s a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago, majoring in history. Thinking about the London fire of 1666 made her wonder, &ldquo;They had to completely rebuild the city, I thought something similar might have happened in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Special help for this story comes from Carl Smith, author of <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/U/bo5625323.html" target="_blank">Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman. </a>He also curates <a href="http://www.greatchicagofire.org" target="_blank">The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory</a>.</em></p><p><em>Katie Klocksin is an independent producer. Follow her on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/KatieKlocksin" target="_blank">@KatieKlocksin</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 16:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/tensions-and-torches-after-great-chicago-fire-110908 There in Chicago (#20) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-20-105073 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-31-2013.JPG" title="Wells Street at Burton Place--view north" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-30-1976_0.JPG" title="1976--the same location" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">How well did you find your way around the Chicago of the past?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">We are on Wells Street a long block south of North Avenue.&nbsp;In 1976 much of the Old Town strip still&nbsp;self-identified as a funky center of the counterculture.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Thirty-seven years later, the&nbsp;physical view up Wells Street hasn&#39;t changed much. However, a wave of gentrification has swept westward from La Salle through this area. The rents here are no longer cheap.</div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 01 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/there-chicago-20-105073 There in Chicago (#3) http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--2012--North-Wells .JPG" title="North Ave @ Wells St (view east)" width="495"></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="330" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/20--1949%20%28Frank%29.jpg" title="1949 (Frank photo/author's collection)" width="495"></p><p>How well did you find your way around 1949 Chicago?</p><p>The one obvious clue is the streetcar signed for Route 72, which is the number still used by the CTA for North Avenue. The double-wires overhead is another clue. Trolley busses were soon to replace streetcars here, and North Avenue was one of the few streets near downtown that had trolley busses.</p><p>The red herring clue is the narrow street. This stretch of North Avenue wasn't widened until 1972, when all the buildings along the north side of the street were knocked down. But purely by coincidence, there's still a drugstore on the northeast corner of North and Wells.</p><p>Thanks for your answers. Next time we'll move further away from downtown, into one of the neighborhoods.</p></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-17/there-chicago-3-96261 The Cider House story http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-07-19/cider-house-story-89141 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/schmidt_ciderhouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-14/2121 N. Hudson Ave..jpg" style="width: 495px; height: 374px;" title=""></p><p>Chicago history is more than just a fire. But sooner or later, there's bound to be a story of the Great Conflagration of 1871. The house at 2121 North Hudson Avenue is at the center of this tale.</p><p>The Chicago Fire started on the Near South Side. Pushed on by strong southwest winds, it burned through downtown, jumped the river, and continued moving north. Nothing in its path seemed safe.</p><p>By the second evening the fire had passed Center Street (Armitage). Here the buildings were fewer and farther apart. On Hudson Avenue, the only house was a little wooden cottage belonging to a policeman named Richard Bellinger.</p><p>As the fire approached, Bellinger was determined to save his home. He tore up the wooden sidewalk, then collected all the water he could, in whatever bucket or bottle or cup was handy. Then he waited--but not for long.</p><p>Sparks from the fire started to hit the house, and Bellinger quickily doused them. The fire kept coming, Bellinger kept pouring water. He ran around the four sides of the little cottage, he climbed on the roof, he dropped back to the ground. Wherever the flames lit, Bellinger was there to put them out.</p><p>He grew tired. He lost track of time. But he was winning. The fire around him was almost gone. And then--he ran out of water!</p><p>Was all his hard toil for nothing? All he needed was a bucket or two more! Oh, cruel twist of fate!</p><p>But wait! Bellinger remembered the barrel of apple cider in the cellar. He told his wife to draw some of the cider into buckets. And with this bit of liquid, the valiant policeman was able to extinguish the remaining flames, and save his home.</p><p>The Triumph of Policeman Bellinger became a part of Chicago folklore. It was even reprinted in school textbooks. On October 8, the anniversary of the fire, teachers would march their classes to the cottage on Hudson Avenue, and tell the story of how it had been saved by cider. Besides the Water Tower, this little frame house was the only building that had survived the disaster.</p><p>Then one day in 1915, a little old white-haired lady appeared at the door of 2121 North Hudson Avenue. It was Mrs. Bellinger, come back to visit the old homestead. She was invited in and looked around. Then she began to reminisce about the events of forty-four years before.</p><p>Yes, she said, her late husband had worked mightily to save the house. After the fire, they had sheltered 21 people in the tiny cottage. However, that cider business had been invented by some reporter with an over-active imagination.</p><p>"We did have a barrel of cider in the basement," Mrs. Bellinger declared. "But we didn't use it because we were able to get enough water from the dugout across the street."</p><p>That destroyed one myth. And more recently, historians have determined that at a couple of other wooden cottages on Cleveland Avenue also came through the fire. So the Bellinger house is not even unique as a survivor.</p><p>But it still makes a damn good story.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jul 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-07-19/cider-house-story-89141 Something You Should Eat (Cinco de Mayo edition): Guacamole from Adobo Grill http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-03/something-you-should-eat-cinco-de-mayo-edition-guacamole-adobo-grill- <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="281" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/23135685?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215" width="500"></iframe></p><p>It may seem like a tired trend, but while many new Mexican restaurants attempt to duplicate it, you have to hand it to <a href="http://www.adobogrill.com/">Adobo Grill </a>for being one of the first in town to make tableside guac a staple part of the experience, as much as a shaken-and-strained margarita. For Cinco de Mayo this week (one of the least important holidays on the calendar by the way; the <em>simchas torah</em> of Mexico), I thought it only appropriate to showcase something from the Mexican kitchen. There is only one Adobo left in Chicago now - the original, in Old Town (Yorktown and Bucktown have long since closed). There's another one in Indianapolis, and they still make it the same way: fresh serrano chiles, onions, garlic and salt, mashed in a lava <em>molcajete</em>, then the incredibly soft and creamy Mexican avocados I only wish I could find in my local grocery store, folded in and mashed with some tomatoes and fresh cilantro. They're going to have some special menus and live music in honor of Cinco de Mayo this week, so check the website or give them a call to make reservations. Buen Provecho!</p></p> Tue, 03 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-03/something-you-should-eat-cinco-de-mayo-edition-guacamole-adobo-grill- Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (VII) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vii <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="281" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-14/onlyarooster.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>(photo by TheeErin, via Flickr) </em></p><div>&nbsp;</div> <p><em>One last word from Joanna, in her own voice:</em></p><p><em> </em></p><p class="audioplayer_container">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vii Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (VI) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vi <p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>Joanna lives in Old Town.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kymberlyanne/3261771553/sizes/m/in/photostream/"><img width="500" height="334" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/old-town-spice.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>The Spice House, Old Town (photo by Kymberly Janisch, via Flickr)</em><br /></a></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Old Town is hard because I like to escape to a place that was different from the society that I was in at work, and now I&rsquo;m still in that whole world. It feels kind of funny to be in such a financial and greedy environment all day long, and then feel like I&rsquo;m still there when I come home. I don&rsquo;t like that. I&rsquo;m not interested in that. It&rsquo;s not my intention to become a cajillionaire and work the system and find little nuances where I can make every dime and penny that I possibly can. That&rsquo;s not something that&rsquo;s interesting to me, but that sort of consumerism and greed seems pretty present in Old Town. On the other hand, it&rsquo;s beautiful and it&rsquo;s really pleasant. So I don&rsquo;t like that all of my neighbors are white and wealthy, but they make things look really pretty.</p><p>I got chicks in March. I have chickens now in my backyard. I&rsquo;m raising them for eggs. I got them as one-day-old chicks. In the mail. The postman called me and said, Are you home? I could hear the chicks chirping in the background. [<em>Laughs</em>.] It was hilarious. He was like, Are you home, I&rsquo;ve got this loud box of squawking chicks. He sounded like he had done that before.</p> <p>The perfect broiler is like three to six months old, right now they&rsquo;re four. I wanna see some eggs, and they haven&rsquo;t laid yet. They will lay for about four years and they will lay one egg a day, so I&rsquo;ll have 28 eggs a week. I&rsquo;ll be selling them for $3 a dozen [<em>laughs</em>]. A little income on the side. I have one that will lay green and blue and sometimes pink eggs. I&rsquo;ll have brown and colored eggs. I&rsquo;ve never slaughtered anything in my life. I have no idea how I&rsquo;m gonna do it [<em>laughs</em>] but I&rsquo;ll make it work. My boyfriend&rsquo;s convinced that he&rsquo;ll be called in to do it, but I will do it myself. I have named them. People say that you should not name them if you plan to kill them, but I named them chicken dishes purposefully so that they know their place: Tandoori, Paprikash, Tetrazzini and Pollo.</p> <p>I bought a pre-fab coop, and they have an indoor space that I sort of close them up in at night. There&rsquo;s an outdoor area that is all caged in, even on the bottom so that the city rats can&rsquo;t sneak in and kill them at night. They&rsquo;re delighted. I thought my neighbors would be a little bit uncomfortable with it, but there are dogs that are in there and there are people that are down in that patio quite often and the dogs don&rsquo;t bark at them, the people just kind of look at them as they&rsquo;re poking around. People will ask me, How are the chickens doing? But no one really seems to be bothered. The birds in the trees make more noise. So people have been really receptive to it. My boss grew up in Wisconsin and still has dreams about buying farmland. He has already volunteered to take care of them when I&rsquo;m on vacation.</p> <p>My mom always had a pretty big garden and she didn&rsquo;t grow up on a farm but all of her cousins did. She grew up in northern Minnesota, so it was all around her. My parents compost and were kind of hippies, so to me this feels like, This is how I was raised.</p> <p>The point of it all is, it&rsquo;s surprising to me that this big city is just a bunch of hicks. We really are. I have been absolutely stunned at how many people had chickens in their past. I&rsquo;ll say, Oh I have chickens. And they&rsquo;re like, Oh my family used to have chickens. Or, My aunt used to have chickens. We&rsquo;re all just a town of farmers is what it seems. Chicago is just kind of a bunch of hick farmers posing as city kids.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-vi Revision Street: Joanna Ericson (V) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-v <p><p><em>Enthusiastic Joanna had been telling me <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/amoore/2010/08/revision-street-joanna-ericson-iii/33069" target="_blank">how she learned the hand signals used on the trading-room floor during a slow day at work</a>. Things have changed since they were &nbsp;the primary means of communication, however.</em></p> <p>It&rsquo;s almost tragic to go down to the floor of the exchange now, because even the guys that are standing in the pit have what look like Blackberries and are trading on their electronic terminals more than half the time, and then flashing only every now and again. So even now, they&rsquo;re still trading on their electronic platforms because that&rsquo;s where the liquidity is in the market. That&rsquo;s the number-one rule, you always go where the liquidity is.</p> <p><em>Do you see any connection between changes in food production you&rsquo;ve become interested in recently and the changes that are affecting your work place?</em><br /> <br /> Well both are about efficiency, right? So it makes sense&mdash;or actually, I don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s entirely logical, but one can see that through modernization, both of those industries have become more and more efficient. I think for both industries, price point is <em>so</em> important that any efficiency matters greatly. So it makes sense that&mdash;I&rsquo;d never thought about that before&mdash;both industries are requiring fewer and fewer workers and that&rsquo;s creating a problem for everybody for both industries. Which is interesting, this sort of factory model that&rsquo;s being used in both of them.</p> <p>Part of why I like this job is because we have a 24-hour desk, so in the morning we have guys that are there that are working my European shift, that are trading for my clients during the European hours. I walk in, they hand me a stack of tickets of things that they&rsquo;re working or things that they traded overnight. I keep track of all of that. Then in the afternoon, by about one-thirty the Asian shift comes in and gets ready for their markets. So I get in at 6:30 and I leave at 4, and I pass my tickets to my Asian shift and then it&rsquo;s theirs and I&rsquo;m finished. They may call me every now and again to say, I don&rsquo;t know who this guys is, or, Who is this trader?, or, What is it that he really wants to trade? But for the most part, I&rsquo;m finished. This is one of the beauties of the market. On Friday afternoon, it&rsquo;s shut.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t expect that to stay for that way for very long. I think it will go to six days a week, because right now the S&amp;P for example trades over 23 hours a day, for 45 minutes total it&rsquo;s closed.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagogeek/4495033915/#/"><img width="375" height="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-14/st-michaels.jpg" alt="" title="" /></a> <code> </code> <br /><em>St. Michael's Church in Joanna's Old Town neighborhood (photo by ChicagoGeek via Flickr)</em> <br />&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: left;">I&rsquo;m finished at four, so emotionally, I have a lot of room for myself and my personal life. I have the time and can explore things, and when I&rsquo;m on vacation I&rsquo;m completely off. I don&rsquo;t read the news. I don&rsquo;t look at the markets. Usually I run away to Alaska where I don&rsquo;t have cell service for that very reason. Right now, I have a very busy personal life. I started culinary school seven weeks ago at night, so I&rsquo;m in culinary school two to three nights a week. Right now I&rsquo;m learning how to make sauces. The other day I did a b├ęchamel and we&rsquo;re gonna do Hollandaise on Monday. I have been involved in a community garden for the last two summers, but things have changed a little bit, so I&rsquo;m more actively gardening in my own house in my own space.</p></p> Mon, 16 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-joanna-ericson-v