In what turned out to be a historic year, Chicago suffered through a record-breaking cold spell, residents overwhelmingly elected its first black woman mayor and the nation became enthralled with an elusive alligator in Humboldt Park.
Plus, in typical Chicago style, there were sports, music festivals and an indicted alderman.
WBEZ photographers were there with a camera.
The Polar Vortex
January 30 was one of the coldest day in Chicago history, but that didn’t stop residents from visiting the lakefront.
Ed Burke: Federal Case No. 19CR322
Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward, entered the federal courthouse on Jan. 3 to face charges of attempted extortion for allegedly shaking down a Burger King. The case is ongoing.
Final flips at UIC
The University of Illinois at Chicago cut its gymnastics programs this year. In their final act, the women’s team just missed qualifying for the national tournament.
Chicago’s 56th mayor: Lori Lightfoot
On April 2, Lori Lightfoot was elected Chicago’s first black woman mayor. “Today, you did more than make history. You created a movement for change,” she said during her election party at the downtown Hilton.
The real Chicago P.D.
The Chicago Police Department continued to expand the force in 2019. On July 9, hundreds of new police officers joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot and then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson for a graduation ceremony at Navy Pier.
On July 16, an elusive alligator in the Humboldt Park lagoon was finally captured – with the help of a Florida man. Wildlife expert Frank Robb nabbed the gator, nicknamed “Chance The Snapper,” and posed for pictures with dozens of fans.
Music Box Theatre: Since 1929
Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre turned 90 this year. Julian Antos, the theatre’s technical director, inspected and previewed a film in the projection booth before an Aug. 21 show.
Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit
The Wu-Tang Clan played Riot Fest in Douglas Park on Sept. 14. (And it was awesome.)
Humming through summer
Summer in a big city can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are places to get away and enjoy nature. At the Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve in southwest suburban Willow Springs, humming birds floated above the plants on Sept. 20.
Pencils down, children
For 11 days in October, classrooms were empty as teachers went on strike. On Oct. 18, teachers marched outside City Hall.
Covfefe and doughnuts
For the first time since being elected, President Donald Trump visited Chicago on Oct. 28 to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference — where he quickly insulted the city. “It’s no surprise that (Trump) brought his insulting, ignorant buffoonery to Chicago. Luckily, in this city, we know the truth and we will not let anyone — no matter how high the office — denigrate who we are as a people or our status as a welcoming city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot replied.
I quit, you’re fired!
Then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced on Nov. 7 that he’d retire at the end of the year. But Johnson didn’t last that long. Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired him Dec. 4, saying he lied about the night he was found asleep in his car.
If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait five minutes. A Nov. 11 storm covered Millennium Park in snow, which melted within days.
From Harlem to Chicago
The Harlem Globetrotters will be at the United Center on Thursday and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Friday. Hops Pearce stopped by the WBEZ and Vocalo studios to show off his skills before he helps blow out the Washington Generals.