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2023 Chicago Metro History Day & Illinois History Day TOPIC SUGGESTIONS.
Please share this page's URL with 6th-12th graders in Illinois public or private schools.

  1. Ancient & Prehistoric Illinois
  2. Illinois Forts & Blockhouses
  3. The Illinois Frontier & Indian History 
  4. Gale's Lincoln Library
  5. Illinois & Chicago PDF Books
  6. More Fascinating Illinois History
  7. Lost Towns of Illinois Series
  8. Illinois Roads
  9. 1893 World's Fair Library
  10. Defunct Illinois Amusement Parks
  11. Chicago Stories
  12. Chicago Directories (1833-1923)
  13. Maps & Bird's Eye Views (1833-1923)
  14. Restaurants, Food History, Olde Cook Books, & Recipes

Links in this Journal's articles are 'closed circuit.' They link to other Journal articles or files, creating a Safe Zone for 13-year-olds and adults alike. We offer free downloads of PDF Books, Papers, Documents, Files and some High-Resolution Public Domain Antique Maps and Images.

About My Blog Design
I grew up one block from the Northtown Branch of the Chicago Public Library in the West Rogers Park neighborhood. I spent a lot of time at the Library for school and enjoyment. I spent untold hours at the Chicago Historical Society's private/pay Library (my expensive membership was paid for by the Society) and the Main Chicago Library downtown. 

As I began my Journal design process, I thought about what happens when you enter the Library. You'd locate the "Card Catalog," find the Dewy Decimal Number for books you're looking for and write down the number because you won't remember it. When I reached the right aisle, I'd look at the Dewy numbers as I strolled. I also read a lot of book titles along the way, even pulling a book or two to take a closer look. I'd venture to say that I checked out more books I found "along the way" than I did purposely. Looking back, I'm glad I read so much—it laid a solid foundation for who I became.

My concept for the Journal incorporates an "Organized Freestyle Browsing" method. As you scroll, you can't help but read some titles. Each link opens in a new browser window, so they are ready to read when you are. There are many ways you can share the articles from the Journal. Scroll to the bottom of the article. Click the icon in the yellow section to share. 



1. Ancient & Prehistoric Illinois
This section follows the land that makes up modern Illinois, beginning from the Mesozoic era (250 to 65 million years ago - the Age of Dinosaurs). 

Throughout the planet's 4-billion-year history, eight supercontinents have formed and broken up due to the churning and circulation in the Earth's mantle. Beginning about 4 billion years ago was the first supercontinent "Superior Craton," next came "Vaalbara," "Ur," "Kenorland," "Columbia (aka Nuna)," "Rodinia," "Pannotia (aka Vendian)," and most recently, "Pangaea."

During the Paleozoic Era, from the beginning of the Cambrian Period about 540 million years ago to the end of the Mississippian Subperiod, the first major subdivision of the Carboniferous period, about 323 million years ago, Illinois was located south of the equator, and parts were submerged beneath a tropical sea (saltwater).

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Ancient Chicago Indian Mounds. 
Ancient Illinois History Beginning on the Supercontinent of Pangaea.
Ancient Illinois Indian Mounds - A Technical Examination. 
Ancient Lake Chicago became Lake Michigan as glaciers retreated over 14,000 years ago. 
Archaeologists in East St. Louis, Illinois, dig to find an ancient civilization that vanished. 

3. The Illinois Frontier & Indian History
Unlike the original 13 British colonies, the first Europeans to arrive in what would become Illinois were the French, who established trading posts and villages along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in the late 1600s to extend their older settlements in Canada. At its peak in 1752, the French population reached 1,380, and about 40% were enslaved Africans.

Generally, the French and Indians coexisted far more peacefully than the British and Indians, bound together in the fur trade. As a result, a borderland developed between the French and Indians.

France and Britain were bitter rivals in the Eighteenth Century, leaving many Illinois French fearful of British rule. Spain and France had more amicable relations, leading many to migrate across the Mississippi. At times the British attempted to force the French out of Illinois. Still, colonial bureaucratic disagreements, British debt from the Seven Years' War, and French stubbornness made this goal insurmountable. Ultimately, like the Spanish, the British only sent official dignitaries to various settlements.

In 1778, violent Anglo-Americans along the Ohio River reached Illinois in George Rogers Clark’s famous Illinois Campaign. The Virginia militia officer captured British military installations in Illinois during the American Revolution.

If you, like me, love this period of time in Illinois' history, you'll truly enjoy this section of my Journal. 

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1711 A French Settlement is the beginning of today's Peoria, Illinois.
1813 “Peoria War” was a big part of eliminating Indians in Illinois.
1814 Wood River, Illinois Massacre.
1816 Treaty of St. Louis and the 1821 and 1833 Treaties of Chicago. 
Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby (1812–1873) was a frontier doctor and scientist in southern Illinois.
 Billy Caldwell; The Life & Times of Billy Caldwell, whose history was mostly fabricated. 
History of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Originally a French Settlement/Fort.
History of the Illinois Country from 1673-1782.
History of the Meskwaki (Fox) Indian Tribe; Searching for Fort du Renards (Fort Fox).
How the City of Newton and Jasper County, Illinois, got their names. 
Illiniwek (Illinois tribe) Grand Village History (aka La Vantum; Old Kaskaskia Village)
Illiniwek (Illinois tribe) History in the Illinois Country. 
Illiniwek (Illinois tribe) Indians bid for power in the late 1600s based on bison and slavery. 
Illiniwek (Illinois tribe) was Massacred at the Grand Village by the Iroquois and its Aftermath.
Illinois Country - Great Plains Indians before French Colonization in the mid-1600s.
Illinois County Boundaries Maps from 1790-1859. 
Oldest Settlements, Villages, and Towns in Illinois.
One Man's Story of "Indian-Hating" in the Illinois Country Frontier. 
Peoria War of 1813 played a big part in eliminating Indians in Illinois.
Philippe de Rocheblave, a Military Opportunist in the Illinois Country.
Pierre Menard House at 4230 Kaskaskia Road in Ellis Grove, Illinois.
Plains Indians in Illinois before the French Colonization of Mississippi Valley in the mid-1700s.
Samuel A. Whiteside, an Illinois pioneer and military hero.
Saunemin, a Village in Illinois named after a Kickapoo Chief.

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Articles, Photos, Films, PDF Books, and more.

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All Illinois Counties Covered, PDF Books, and much more.

6. More Fascinating Illinois History
American settlements in the American Bottom expanded with access to the Mississippi River, and threats from Indians lessened. Many migrated out from the forts and blockhouses to establish homesteads and farms. In 1802 two settlements were established to the north of previous settlements in what would become St. Clair and Madison Counties: Ridge Prairie and the Goshen Settlement.

Further ties were also established with the growing port city of St. Louis. With the Mississippi now open to American traffic, Captain James Piggot established the first American ferry to St. Louis across the Mississippi in 1795. Economic and social ties were cemented further with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, with St. Louis becoming an American city. The purchase also altered the American Bottom’s relative location, which became centrally located as an access point to the west. For instance, the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter of 1803 and 1804 training at Camp Dubois in what would become Madison County before beginning their expedition west on the Missouri River. This section brings us into the modern era.

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3-Wheel Velocipede (Handcar) in Effingham, Illinois.
1917 Race Riots in East St. Louis, Illinois. 
House of Sunshine, 1200 East Union Avenue, Litchfield, Illinois.
How did land from Niles, Illinois, become a small subdivision of Chicago on Touhy Avenue?
How Illinois was affected by the "Mississippi Bubble" in the early 18th Century. 
How two Illinois men helped keep Adolph Hitler from developing the atomic bomb.
Illinois becomes the 21st State of the Union on December 3, 1818.
Illinois Central Railroad Company vs. the State of Illinois. Lake Michigan Usage (1892)
Illinois Central Railroad Station [Springfield Union Station] in Springfield, Illinois History.
Illinois County Boundaries Maps from 1790-1859.
Illinois is on the west side of the Mississippi River, and Missouri is on the east side? How?
Illinois' First Penitentiary in Alton unfit for prisoners - closed 1860. Then came the Civil War.
Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, Biography.
John Crenshaw's 'Old Slave House' and "Reverse Underground Railroad" in Equality, IL
John Stevens, Naperville, Illinois' First Professional Builder.
John Washington Barker, Life and Times of a 131st Illinois Civil War Infantry Man.
Josephine Garis Cochrane, the inventor of the Dishwasher.
Krauss Building at 209 W. High Street, Freeburg, Illinois, history.
Keeley Institute in Dwight, Illinois. Dr. Leslie Keeley offers a cure for alcoholics.
Keeneyville is a Bedroom Community in unincorporated DuPage County, Illinois.
Kinsella Two-Story Log Cabin (1854), Fairview Heights. 1st Interior Shots Since 1976.
Kit Houses - Harris Brothers Co. / Chicago House Wrecking Co., Chicago. (1893-1933)
Kit Houses - Lustron Homes - A mid-century attempt at future prefab houses. (1947-1950)
 Kit Houses - Sears Modern Homes - History, floorplans, and more (1908-1940)
     The story of my private tour of a Sears Modern Home in Carlinville, Illinois.
Kline Creek Farm is a Living History Farm and Museum in West Chicago, Illinois.
Plank Road History in the Chicago area.  
Police Blotter - 1845, Lawrenceville, Betsey Reed; Illinois' 1st female serial killer was hung.
Police Blotter - 1924, Rondout, Largest Train Robbery in US History.
Police Blotter - 1980s, Justice, Did the Cook County Sheriff Arrest, Resurrection Mary?
Police Blotter - 1992, Waukegan, Juan Rivera 20 years in prison for murder; exonerated. 
Police Blotter - 1993, Palatine, Brown's Chicken Restaurant Massacre on January 8.
Purple Hotel History in Lincolnwood, Illinois.
Racists Missed the Point of this Billboard in Justice, Illinois; September of 1991. 
 Radium Poisoning Killed Hundreds of "Ghost Girls" in Ottawa and other towns in Illinois.

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8. Illinois Roads, Byways, and Highways.

 Highly Recommended  

        The First 25 Years. Route 66 Association of Illinois; "The 66 News."          

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Articles, PDF Books, and more.

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Over 140 defunct amusement park articles with over 1,700 pictures.

11. Chicago Stories
The first plat of the town of Chicago was filed in 1830. Chicago was incorporated as a town on August 12, 1833, with a population of about 350. The town of Chicago filed new Incorporation documents on March 4, 1837, becoming the City of Chicago with 4,170 residents. For several decades Chicago was the world's fastest-growing city.

I'm confident that you'll enjoy my articles in this section. Learn about the dozens of Chicago fires, riots of all kinds, including a bread riot, and Chicago's only crucifixion. Other interesting topics include stories about ships and nature destroying many Chicago River bridges, Al Capone Stories, a first-person view on Stagecoach travel, Chicago planked roads and Indian trails, and many articles about early Chicago. Have you ever wondered how Chicago dispose of over 1,650 tons of horse manure daily (602,000 tons a year) in the 1890s? What's a manure vault anyway?
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"4 Children for Sale," the True and Complete Story about the Chicago 1948 Yard Sign.
16-Inch Softball History in Chicago. 
Bull's Head Market, Chicago's First Stockyard.
Bund leader Fritz Kuhn promises to make Germany & America great in a 1939 Chicago rally.
Cable Court, a One Block Private Street, a Turnaround for Cablecars, in Chicago.
Carmelita Pope - One of the First Ladies of Chicago Television.
Carroll Street, a little-known subterranean street, runs along the River North neighborhood.
Carter Harrison Sr., Mayor, Assassinated by Patrick Eugene Prendergast 10/28/1893
     Carter Harrison Sr., Last Speech at World's Fair before His Murder; Night of 10/28/1893
Cemetery History of Early Chicago. 
Central Station, Chicago Terminal. Also known as the Illinois Central Depot.
Clarence Buckingham and his Memorial Fountain in Chicago's Grant Park.
Charles Dickinson Inn and Tavern History in today's Portage Park Community of Chicago.
Charles "Carl" Frederick Günther, The History of Chicago's "The Candy Man."
Charles Jerold Hull, a biographical sketch of Chicago's philanthropist of Hull House fame.
Chicago's 19th-century public police force history. 
Chicago's Air Quality.
Chicago's Alley History. 
Chicago, The Stark Truth About the 1890s.
Frink & Walker, Stage Line Company, started service in Chicago in 1832.
Galena & Chicago Union Railway Station at Canal and Kinzie, Chicago's first depot. 1855
General McArthur Day, April 26, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois.
Ghost Signs found in Chicago, Illinois. Over 200 are presented with sign locations.
Givins’ Irish Castle History, Chicago’s Only Castle at 10244 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago.
Google Maps mystery of a Chicago location called "1980 Stat Boundary."
Grand Opera House of Chicago, Illinois. (1872-1958)
Grant Park Band Shell; Chicago's Petrillo Bandshell history.
Great Central (Train) Station, Chicago. (1856-1893)
Greektown, a Chicago neighborhood, served the first Gyros in America.
Green Tree Tavern at Lake and Water Streets. A first-hand account of an overnight stay. 
German Turnverein "gymnastics" movement in Chicago began in 1852. 
Gombien Jean, a Chicago Leland Hotel Employee, Dies from the Oddest Cause in 1892.
Great Heart; World Record High Jumping Horse at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, in 1923.
John Wayne Gacy History - Serial Killer. (1942-1994)
Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil, Chicago's Con-Man Extraordinaire. "The Sting" is based on Weil.
Kadish's Natatorium on the corner of Michigan Ave. & Jackson Blvd. in Chicago, 1880s.
Kalo Shop, the "leading maker" of the Arts and Crafts silver movement in Chicago.
Kate Sturges Buckingham was one of the Great Women in Chicago's History.
Keanon Kyles, a black opera singer, gets his big break after years as a night janitor.
Keeley Brewing Company of Chicago. (1876-1953)
Kit Houses - Chicago Shelter Cottages - Mass short-term house kits for 1871 Fire Victims.
Kit Houses - Harris Brothers Co. / Chicago House Wrecking Co., Chicago. (1893-1933)
Kit Houses - Lustron Homes - A mid-century attempt at future prefab houses. (1947-1950)
Kit Houses - Sears Modern Homes - History, floorplans, popular Illinois choice. (1908-1940)
     The story of my private tour of a Sears Modern Home in Carlinville, Illinois.
 "Kiosk Sphinx" built by a Chicago millionaire, a crazy house with lots of pictures to prove it.
Kolze's Electric (Amusement) Park, Chicago, Illinois.
Kwa̱nu’sila, “The Thunder-Maker” Totem Pole. Amazing history at Addison & LSD, Chicago.
La Rabida Hospital at Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Aldine Square Neighborhood, 1874-1938.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Cleaverville. 
Lost Communities of Chicago - Conley's Patch
Lost Communities of Chicago - Hyde Park Township. 
Lost Communities of Chicago - Irving Park Settlement.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Lee's (Leigh) Place / Hardscrabble a Chicago Community.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Little Sicily "Little Hell" Neighborhood.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Mopetown a Chicago Neighborhood.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Shanty Town, District of Lake Michigan, and Streeterville.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Swede Town Neighborhood.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Towertown Neighborhood. 
Lost Communities of Chicago - Town of Austin forced annexation to Chicago in 1899.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Town of Lake. 
Lost Communities of Chicago - Village of Jefferson. - Township of Jefferson.
Lost Communities of Chicago - Village of Pennock.
Low-Rise Modernist Commercial Buildings on Chicago's Peterson Avenue. 
Lyon and Healy Factory, Chicago, Illinois.
Lytton Department Stores (aka The Hub), Chicago's Premier Clothing Retailer. (1887-1986)
Plaza Hotel, 1553 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Police Blotter - 1892, A Masked Highwayman Terrorizes Chicago.
Police Blotter - 1892, Gombien Jean Dies from the Oddest Cause. Today, We Know Why. 
Police Blotter - 1893, Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr. Assassinated by P. Prendergast.
Police Blotter - 1927, Michael Stopec's Unsolved and Bewildering Murder. 
Police Blotter - 1939, The Disappearance of Civil Rights Pioneer Lloyd Gaines in Chicago. 
Police Blotter - 1978, Serial Killer, John Wayne Gacy. 
Potter Palmer is responsible for Chicago's State Street as a business district.
President Street Names in Chicago.
Primer about the difference between a Chicago community and a Chicago neighborhood.
Prince Edward visits Chicago. Mayor Wentworth introduces him in his usual arrogant style.
Public Bath Houses in Chicago. 
Ravenswood Outpost, across from Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago.
Rear Houses in Chicago have an interesting history. 
Red-Light District or the Vice Districts of Chicago's Past.  [PG-13] 
Red Scare (aka the Palmer Raids) in 1919 Chicago. 
Relic House of Chicago; a Pictorial History.
Republic of Forgottonia; 16 western Illinois counties tried to secede to form a new state.
Richard J. Daley was elected to his first political office... but as a Republican in 1936.
Richard W. Sears, the Story of an American Merchant in Chicago in 1893.
Riverview Stadium; Different Stadiums at Different Times in Chicago's History. 
Robert Hall Department Store and Clothier, Chicago and Illinois Stores.  
Rogers Park and West Ridge Communities of Chicago, their Intertwined History.
Rogers Park and West Ridge Communities Movie Houses' History in Chicago. 
Rogers Park Community of Chicago's Clark Street History.
Rogers Park Baseball Club & Grounds, the corner of Devon Ave. and Clark St, Chicago. 
Rogers Park Hospital History, Chicago, Illinois. 
Zenith Radio Store, Chicago, Illinois, 1936.
Zoot Suit created by Harold Fox in Chicago; A complete History. 

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13. Maps & Bird's Eye Views

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Articles, Recipes, and Antique Illinois Cookbooks in PDF.


"Organized Freestyle Browsing™" was coined on June 20, 2022, by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.