Historic landmarks to seek out when in Chicago

Of course you have heard of the Great Chicago Fire and probably are aware that John Dillinger got his at a Chicago movie theater. So, if you have time when visiting Chicago to see some sites either laden with history or are city landmarks, then check out these remarkable places.

Biograph Theater is where John Dillinger caught FBI bullets

Biograph Theater is where John Dillinger caught FBI bullets

Biograph Theater

Lincoln Avenue has lots of good restaurants and shops but a good place to stop is the theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Designed by Samuel N. Crowen in 1914 it was where FBI agents shot John Dillinger in 1934. Dillinger had been watching a gangster movie inside then was shotin the alley as he left the place. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a Chicago Landmark. The theater is now home to Victory Gardens Theater, a stage venue known for excellent productions. Although remodeled, the theater still has its grand staircase

Buckingham Fountain

At night you might spy the huge, gorgeous Buckingham Fountain by its aura of changing lights. During the day, find it by walking south from the Art Institute of Chicago along Michigan Avenue and see if you can spot a really high water spout. A designated Chicago Landmark, the fountain was dedicated in 1927 after Kate Buckingham had it built in memory of her brother, Clarence.  Yes, it’s pretty fancy. It was inspired by the Palace of Versailles’ Latona Fountain. The waters put on a 20-minute show from about mid-April through mid-October.

Navy Pier has had many lives ranging from Military to college and entertainment
Navy Pier has had many lives ranging from Military to college and entertainment

Navy Pier

Sticking out 3,300 feet into Lake Michigan from Grand Avenue, Navy Pier really does have military roots. Its Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Children’s Museum and restaurants make it a fun place to visit, today. But its air of holiday fun also dates back 1916 when it was designed by Daniel Burnham as a multi-purpose pier. Over the years it has housed Navy operations, some Army personnel and the Red Cross. It also served as a campus for the University of Illinois Chicago. Ships still do dock there but instead of carrying military personnel or freight they are tourist excursion boats, and sometimes, the Tall Ships that sail the Great Lakes.

Great Chicago Fire Sculpture

A conflagration that destroyed about 3.3 square miles, the Great Chicago Fire burned from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 1871. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow has been exonerated but the fire did first burn down the O’Leary’s shed. “Pillar of Fire,” a sculpture of a flame by Egon Weiner, was erected there in 1961. To see the spot go to West DeKoven and South Jefferson Streets. It is next to a City of Chicago Fire Academy.

Site of Fort Dearborn

A historic location where tourists are bound to walk without knowing its unhappy story is the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at the Chicago River. Look for a

Look for Fort Dearborn plaques at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive

Look for Fort Dearborn plaques at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive

plaque that mentions Fort Dearborn. Built next to the river in 1803, it was destroyed during the War of 1812 and later rebuilt in 1816. But it was during its first existence that its residents were ambushed and killed by Potawatomi Indians when they left the fort.

Photos (c) Jodie Jacobs

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