WTTW Takes Viewers On The Chicago River

Passengers take in the sights as they head east down the Chicago River during an architectural boat tour of Chicago Saturday, May 3, 2008.
Passengers take in the sights as they head east down the Chicago River during an architectural boat tour of Chicago Saturday, May 3, 2008. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Passengers take in the sights as they head east down the Chicago River during an architectural boat tour of Chicago Saturday, May 3, 2008.
Passengers take in the sights as they head east down the Chicago River during an architectural boat tour of Chicago Saturday, May 3, 2008. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

WTTW Takes Viewers On The Chicago River

More than 100 years ago, the Chicago River was a polluted commercial highway, lined with factories and plied by ships, barges and tugboats. Taking a swim in the river was a serious health hazard (and forget about fishing).

Today, it’s a completely different river. Skyscrapers and restaurants are now the dominant tenants, and it’s become a pedestrian-friendly destination as well as a favorite route for river tour cruises. WTTW producer and host Geoffrey Baer has been giving tours for more than 30 years as a river docent. He’s also been a tour guide for WTTW viewers, and Monday night he brings us a new look at the Chicago River with a new WTTW special. He joins the Morning Shift to talk Chicago River history and his deep personal connection to the meandering waterway.