Oldest Chicago is about the places that have survived the passage of time.
Oldest business: Peacock Jewelers (1838); oldest apothecary: Merz Apothecary (1875); oldest tavern: Schaller's Pump (1889); oldest theater: the Biograph Theater (1914); and oldest drive-in restaurant: Superdawg (1948). In Oldest Chicago, journalist David Witter highlights dozens of the oldest local treasures in Chicago and its suburban and exurban areas. Remarkable for having survived demolition and extinction for decades, these beloved landmarks have also helped define our city's landscape, offering continuity and civic identity across generations. Rather than celebrate the past, many of Chicago's business and political leaders have risen to power by tearing it down. Chicago has lost, and continues to lose, many great civic, architectural, and cultural landmarks. In recent years, Marshall Field's and Carson Pirie Scott have vanished from the city's landscape. Other structures like the Uptown and Ramova Theaters are also in danger of being permanently lost. Oldest Chicago is a reminder of the value of these familiar places and a call to preserve them for a future sense of place.But Oldest Chicago isn't only a history book--it's a guide.
Everyone tries the newest...why not try the oldest? Visit the oldest house. Worship at the oldest church. Get on your soapbox at the oldest park. Party at the oldest nightclub. Taste the foods that generations of Chicagoans have savored at the oldest hot dog stand, pizzeria, soda pop maker, ice cream parlor, diner, chili vendor, liquor distributor, soul food restaurant, and bakery.
Don't just read about Chicago's history--experience it!