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Eight Forty-Eight

A quiz on famous Chicagoans

Stop any Chicagoan on the street, and ask them about former Governor Rod Blagojevich or Ozzie Guillen, and you can bet you'll hear some strong opinions on these controversial figures. But what about the names from way back when? WBEZ history blogger John Schmidt joins us to quiz the listeners about famous Chicago faces from our early history. We'll publish the quizzes after the show. For those of you tuning in live, call 312.923.9239.



1. Sox owner Bill Veeck wore a peg leg.  How did he lose his right leg?

(A) He was hit by a foul ball, and did not treat the injury.

(B) He lost the leg because of a World War II incident.

(C) He was injured in a train wreck.

(D) He was born with only part of his right leg.

2. Who was the first Chicago resident to win a Nobel Prize?

(A) Saul Bellow

(B) Francis Parker

(C) Jane Addams

(D) Albert A. Michelson

3. Besides being Chicago’s first mayor, why is William B. Ogden famous?

(A) He built Chicago’s first railroad.

(B) He saved Abraham Lincoln’s life during the Black Hawk War.

(C) He built a toll road that later became Ogden Avenue.

(D) He served a term as Speaker of the U.S. House of  Representatives.

4. Why was Tribune publisher Robert McCormick known as Colonel McCormick?

(A) “Colonel” was actually McCormick’s given name.

(B) McCormick was an honorary Kentucky colonel, like Colonel Sanders.

(C) McCormick was at one time a colonel in the U.S. Army.

(D) McCormick was formerly commandant of a military school.

5. The 1909 “Plan of Chicago” was a landmark achievement in city planning.  Who was the major author of that plan?

(A) Frederick Law Olmsted

(B) Daniel Burnham

(C) Donald Ross

(D) Miles Archer


Answers: b d a c b

(B) He lost the leg because of a World War II incident.  Veeck was a Marine in World War II.  His right leg was injured by the recoil of an artillery piece.  He had a number of operations and amputations on the leg over the next few years, until he was finally left with a stump above his knee. According to one report, one of Veeck’s artificial legs is now being used as a trophy for a fantasy baseball league.

(D) Albert A. Michelson. Michelson was one of the Clark University professors that William Rainey Harper “stole” for the new University of Chicago in the 1890s. Michelson’s Nobel Prize was for Physics in 1907.  The citation said the prize was “for his optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid.”

(A) He built Chicago’s first railroad.  Ogden was elected to a one-year term as mayor in 1837.  He was active in real estate, and in building the Illinois-Michigan Canal. But he also saw railroads as the way of the future. In 1848 he founded the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, which began operating between downtown Chicago and the Village of Oak Park.  With later extensions it became the Chicago & North Western RR.  The original line is now Metra’s Union Pacific West Line.

(C) McCormick was at one time a colonel in the U.S. Army.  McCormick was an officer in the Illinois National Guard when it was called into service during World War I.  During the war he rose to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army and won combat decorations. Afterward, McCormick named his Wheaton estate “Cantigy” after a town in France where his unit had fought. 

(B) Daniel Burnham. Burnham was an architect by training. In 1906 a group of Chicago businessmen commissioned Burnham and another architect, Edward Bennett, to draw up a plan for redeveloping the city. The finished plan included radial highways, parks, railroad and harbor improvements, and new civic buildings. The plan became popularly known as the “Burnham Plan.” Some of the projects were built, and some were not.  But for a century, it has been the blueprint for much of Chicago’s public works. 

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