Chicagoland is full of rich history. From the city to the suburbs, you’ll find an amazing story or incredible cultural artifact around seemingly every corner.
But where can you go when you want to dig into this local history for yourself? Whether you want to learn more about your neighborhood or get to know some of the hometown heroes from Chicagoland’s past and present, here are five fun ways to get to know our area’s unique history:
1.) Use Online Resources to Explore from the Comforts of Home
Hunkering down for a winter at home? You can still use fun digital resources to learn more about Chicago’s past and present. Here are a few fun online tools and sites devoted to all things Chicagoland history:
- The Encyclopedia of Chicago
- The Chicago History Museum’s chicagohistoryresources.org/
- The Chicago Tribune’s “Vintage Tribune” Instagram account
- Choose Chicago
- Enjoy Illinois
- Chicago Collections
- Forgotten Chicago
- WBEZ’s Curious City archives
2.) Explore a Local Museum or Library
When you want to take a dive into Chicagoland’s storied past, there are plenty of local museums and libraries that can help you kickstart your search. A few local institutions with extensive resources on Chicago history include:
- The Chicago History Museum
- Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Newberry Library
- The Chicago Cultural Center
3.) Visit a Local Landmark
Have you ever wondered what it means for a building or site to be on the National Register of HIstoric Places? What does it mean for something to be designated a landmark? You can get the answers to these questions — and see history up close and in person — at one of Chicagoland’s many historically significant sites.
From the city to the suburbs, our area is full of places that have been designated as landmarks by the National Parks Service, the city, and the state of Illinois.
To start sorting through an extensive list of local landmarks, visit this alphabetical list from the city of Chicago, or create your own historical tour with the city’s handy online guides.
Open House Chicago is another wonderful resource for getting to know the area’s history. In this annual event, historically significant sites all over Chicagoland open their doors to the public for free tours and exploration. Throughout the year, the Chicago Architecture Center is another important local resource with lots of great information on the incredible buildings that make up Chicagoland.
For more ideas on how you can start getting to know our area’s amazing and historic architecture through tours or travel, keep reading right here on our blog.
4.) Step Back In Time In a Historic District
Chicagoland is full of historic districts that have been perfectly preserved to represent a bygone slice of history — from rows of perfectly kept bungalows in the Schorsch Irving Park Gardens District, to the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces in the Oak Park Historic District, to the legendary facades of classic homes that make up the Gold Coast or the South Loop’s Prairie Avenue.
Looking to find out more about the historic districts spread out across Chicagoland? You can get started with this Google Maps guide to Chicago’s historic districts.
5.) Add a New Book to Your Reading List
Looking to impress friends and family with your depth of local knowledge? It might help to load up your bookshelf with a novel or historical account that digs deep into Chicagoland’s history. Here are a few great guides to help you on your hunt for a new Chicagoland-focused book:
- University of Chicago’s “Chicago Reading List”
- Curbed’s “10 Essential Books About Chicago”
- GoodReads presents an extensive list of books about Chicago history
- Chicago Magazine shares its “Great Chicago Reading List”
How Are You Making the Most of Your Time at Home?
This is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, and the bonds that tie us together. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. We know this is as well as anyone. At Baird & Warner, Chicagoland has been our home since 1855.
We are here for you, no matter what. We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier. We will continue to provide the most updated information and guide you through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand.