The Great Chicago Fire is often remembered as the event that paved the way for Chicago to become a great city. The disaster brought Chicagoans together, right? Well, yes, but people didn't always think that was such a good thing. Someone even used the phrase "awful democracy of the hour." Produced for WBEZ's Curious City. For more the article is here.
For 36 years, Michael Powell’s friendly quips would comfort commuters. It turns out that he needed comfort, too. This was produced for WBEZ's Curious City. The article is available here. A slightly different version of this piece was featured by the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) as part of their Person of Interest series.
Note: this story begins at 7:36 in the SoundCloud file below.
Curious Citizen Paul Vaccarello wondered why he tends to see Amish people at Chicago's Union Station. He asked Curious City, and together we visited the train station and got to know our regional Amish neighbors a little bit better. More information, including a map that shows where Amish communities and Amtrak train lines overlap, is here.
I investigated the increased local hawk population for WBEZ's Curious City, and we uncovered a wildlife conservation success story. Experts at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute told us that Cooper's Hawks are on the rise after spending years on the Illinois Endangered Species list. Special thanks to Chicago artist Diana Sudyka for custom illustrations (!) of our hawk neighbors. The full story is here. (The story begins at 4:45 on this Soundcloud file.)
Note: the hawk in this image is *not* to scale. It's a composite image from two Creative Commons licensed photos via Flickr by users: "Chickens in the trees" and "like, totally." Yes, those are their usernames.
Along with WBEZ’s Curious City team, I looked into the listener-submitted question: how many objects does The Field Museum have in its collection, and how many of them are on exhibit at any given time? We took a tour of one of the museum's storage areas, and uncovered a backstory for one artifact that began on the other side of the world. More information, including a video of our adventure, can be found here.
I stumbled onto the oldest standing geodesic dome, which was built by the late Buckminster Fuller. Fuller called himself a "comprehensive anticipatory design scientist," out to solve the problems confronting "Spaceship Earth" using smart design. More than fifty years after it was built, the dome is not in good shape. This version of this story was produced in collaboration with 99% Invisible. More pictures of the dome are on their website. (This is the 99%-ified version of Bucky's Dome, posted below.)
In the middle of a town where almost every home is covered in classic New England wood shingles, there's a giant dome. It looks like a three story tall golf ball, and the door was left unlocked. This story was produced at the Transom Story Workshop, and aired on WCAI's Arts and Ideas. There is a 99%-ified version of this piece posted above. Photo by JP Davidson.