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Oldest Chicago Paperback – January 24, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Claremont Press; 1st edition (January 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893121445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893121447
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lindapanzo on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a lifelong (50 year) Chicagoland resident, I thought I'd known nearly everything there is to know about the longest-standing places in the area. This book showed me that I was mistaken.

Sure, I've been to plenty of the longest-standing Chicago places, such as the oldest hot dog place (Super Dawg), the oldest hotel, the Palmer House, and the oldest Italian restaurant (Italian Village) but there are plenty of places I'd never heard of.

This interesting book also gave me information about things/people I pass by but never knew about.

However, you don't have to be a Chicagoland resident or even a Chicago history buff to enjoy this book. In fact, it's even more suited to the Chicago tourist. After addressing each "oldest place" for 2 or 3 pages, the author provides a brief look at other interesting attractions and/or restaurants in the same neighborhood or of the same type.

Though I quibbled with a fact or two here and there (the McHenry outdoor theater is certainly not closed), this book is a keeper. An informative and fun look at Chicago history. I'd definitely recommend this one
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George Vrechek on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is certainly an entertaining book, particularly for Chicagoans interested in various neighborhoods. It is full of facts which must have taken considerable effort to uncover. I just wish the author or editors had taken a little more care to get more of the facts and directions correct and to fix the obvious typos. e.g. page 12 The House of Peacock opened in 1837 not 1937; p 22 Leopold Loeb is not one person - presuming the author meant either Nathan Leopold or Richard Loeb; p 23. Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap cannot be "visited in Woodlawn" but is actually in the middle of Hyde Park; p 26 Old St Pat's is just east of the Kennedy not just west; p 31 if the Louisville was sunk near the Indiana line, it was near the 68th Street crib not the Wilson Ave crib; p. 73 the Lincoln statue is east of the History Museum not south; p 84 the U of C is northeast of Daley's Restaurant not northwest; p. 85 the Statue of the Republic is not a "remnant" from the Columbian Exposition but a 1918 replica; p 96 the Art Institute is 2 blocks east of Central Camera not west; p 101 Douglas is buried on 35th Street not 36th Street; p 131 Greeece should be Greece; p 165 Sheridan Hotel should be Sheraton Hotel; p 204 Andy's is not 3 blocks southeast of the Jazz Record Mart but about 1/2 block southwest; p 214 Frank Lloyd Wright left his Oak Park Studio in 1909 and would not have been down the block from a Petersen's ice cream cone in 1919; p 217 Wright's home doesn't include "dark paneled wood"; p 235 "the relatively new suburb of Downers Grove" was founded in 1832; 237 Russel's should be Russell's; p 239 Russell's is east of Maywood Park not west of Balmoral Race Track on Dixie Hwy which is 40 miles away, etc. Otherwise great stuff, I think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul McFarland on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Oldest Chicago is at first blush a sightseeing handbook for the city of Chicago. It takes the format of giving the oldest existent example of structures that were important to the city. Choices range from the oldest business (jewelers) to the oldest tamale shop (La Guadalupana). This would be a book that a year or two ago I would have recommended only for a local resident or someone planning a visit.

However, technology gives a different way to enjoy the book. The author has taken good care to include the exact street address of almost all the locations that are discussed. This enables the use of Google maps and street view to remotely view (if you will) the building in question. I found that this really added another dimension to the book.

This volume combines historic information with a lively writing style. Overall, I found it to be an excellent book that perhaps opens a new way to view travel literature. I would recommend it to anyone interested in history or the city of Chicago.
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Format: Paperback
This book is as it says, accounts of the oldest of a variety of Chicago institutions, largely restaurants and movie theaters but also a few churches etc. The restaurants are notable chiefly for good plain food --they remind me of Calvin Trillin's American Fried. Although there are a few references to destructive urban changes --the building of the Eisenhower Expressway which destroyed many urban neighborhoods--and to the one-time presence of gangs like the Blackstone Rangers, overall this is a cheerful book celebrating the survivors, not mourning the losses of Chicago's historic buildings. My reaction to it was a desire to go to Chicago and visit many of these places and eat. My wife who grew up in Chicago knew none of them except the Biograph Theater, which says something of the thoroughness with which this has been compiled.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wendy S. Bright on July 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was most eager to read Oldest Chicago, and now that I am in the middle of it, I am quite disappointed. It strikes me as a book that was put together very quickly and not thoroughly edited.

Along with the many errors that George Vrechek lists here, I found two more - one pretty significant. The first is that Essenay Studios is located EAST of Little Vietnam, not west (pg 111).

But some outright confusion enters when naming The Monadnock the oldest skyscraper in Chicago. The Chicago Architecture Foundation - and many architectural historians - define a skyscraper as a tall building with metal-frame, skeletal construction; it was an entirely new building form. The north section of the Monadnock (1889-91), while tall, is not this new style of building: it is masonry, load-bearing construction - and among the last in the "old" manner of construction. The southern half of the building seems to be what the author is referring to because he cites the 1893 date - and this part of the Monadnock is rightly known as a skyscraper. But it is not the oldest.

We have two significant examples of earlier-than-the-Monadnock skyscrapers within blocks of it: The Manhattan Building (1889-91), 431 S Dearborn, is widely considered the oldest extant metal-framed skyscraper, with the Pontiac Building (1891), 542 S Dearborn, right behind; both metal-frame, tall buildings completed the same year as the old-style Monadnock (north).

And to clarify further, there were even earlier skyscrapers in Chicago (Home Insurance, Tacoma) that are no longer with us.
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