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'City of superlatives' -- A newsreel looks at 1930s Chicago architecture

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'City of superlatives' -- A newsreel looks at 1930s Chicago architecture

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My recent travels on YouTube unearthed the above six-minute gem: a 1930s newsreel showcasing Chicago architecture and locales.

There’s some great footage here. The short film makes it way through the usual places such as North Michigan Avenue, the old Water Tower and the Palmolive Building, but it takes a surprising detour to old Maxwell Street where the narrator is keen to tell us “pretty Gypsy girls--and some not so pretty--will try to sell you anything. And how they can chisel.”

The Union Stockyards are shown as is the University of Chicago and the accompanying Midway Plaisance. And there is a look at the 1933 World’s Fair buildings. The video was posted by a company called

Regular readers know I’ve got a weak spot for stuff like this. In May, I found some rare color footage showing the city and the 1933 fair. And while I’m rambling about, check out this priceless 1955 home movie clip posted by YouTube user jgmoore2448 of a family visiting Chicago in the most magnificent piece of Detroit steel you’ve ever seen. I like shot at 0:29 of the classy woman getting out of that beautiful Cadillac and walking toward the camera. The next scene of the well-dressed folk in suits and furs walking down a Chicago street is also very cool.

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