Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chicago Disasters: Introduction

Turn of the Century Chicago
Chicago Skyline Today

Some cities seem to suffer more than their fair share of disasters. Chicago is one of those cities. The book, Darkest Hours, devotes no less than eighteen pages just to disasters in Chicago. In the next few posts I will cover several of the disasters in Chicago. 

Chicago is also known as one of the most corrupt of cities. This is why I am including a background post on Mayor William "Big Bill" Thompson. While he was not personally a creator of disasters, he does hold the distinction of having no fewer than thirteen disasters happen during his two terms as mayor.

But (perhaps more importantly) Chicago is also known as a city that rises from the ashes of disaster as an always improved and more beautiful city.


City by Design photo - Panashe City by Design: Chicago
Turn of the Century Chicago photo - Chicago Magazine
Chicago Skyline Today photo - What to Do in Chicago

Recommended Additional Reading: 

City by Design Chicago: An Architectural Perspective of Chicago.
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago. I could not have written this series of posts without reading this book. I strongly recommend you buy it if you are interested in more details on the disasters in this series.
Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Darkest Hours by Jay Robert Nash. Used copies available at Amazon.


  1. Hey Debra!

    My name is Margaret, I'm a tour guide in Chicago here.

    I've started a Disaster! Tour this year. I'd love to talk to you about it! Love your website. Fascinating stuff.

    If you like, email me at if you want to chat about it all. Thanks!


  2. I love the idea of a disaster tour. I'll e-mail you.