Stories by Erica Gunderson

Ask Geoffrey: The Story Behind an Iconic 1940s Bronzeville Photo

A famous photo taken in 1940s Bronzeville features the faces of five young African-American men, but their identities have remained a mystery for generations. Local history expert Geoffrey Baer is here with the story behind one of Bronzeville's most enduring images in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

New Book ‘In a Different Key’ Tells the History, Politics of Autism

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in 68 American children has Autism Spectrum Disorder. A new book tells the story of some of those parents as it takes a look back at autism’s dark history of institutionalization, questionable therapies and plain bad science. 

Viewer Feedback: 'People Don't Like Noise, But Do Like Access'

Hear what viewers had to say about our talk last week with Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans and Friday's "The Week in Review" when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Chicago Tonight Puzzle: February Challenge

Our puzzle pro Sandy Weisz returns with a new video puzzle and photo puzzles. Submit your answer by 10 a.m. Monday for a chance to win our puzzle prize package!

Ask Geoffrey: Which Came First, Eisenhower or Old Main Post Office?

Old Main Post Office (Brianbobcat / Wikimedia Commons)

The Eisenhower Expressway runs underneath the Old Main Post Office, causing one viewer to wonder which came first. Geoffrey Baer delves into the history of these interlinked landmarks and answers other viewer questions in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: Why is there a statue of Richard J. Daley in Springfield?

Chicago's most famous mayor might have a 50-foot Picasso in a plaza named for him, but a statue of Richard J. Daley resides in Springfield. Geoffrey Baer explains why Hizzoner is honored outside of Chicago in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey. 

Ask Geoffrey: What's the History of Asylum Place?

Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer investigates the history of Asylum Place, the explosive story behind a 1930s death caused by a manhole cover and what happened to magical Chicago restaurant chain. 

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to the Sunken Garden in Jackson Park?

Geoffrey Baer visits an artist under glass, gets that sinking feeling at a Jackson Park garden, and reveals the hej hej history of the Andersonville neighborhood's name in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago's Crusade Against Air Pollution

Not that long ago, air pollution from burning coal made the Windy City more like the Smoggy City. Geoffrey Baer tells us how Chicago cleaned up its act. He'll also explore the Kentucky Colony that settled in the city and the history of a pediatric hospital on the South Side.

Ask Geoffrey: What's the Story with Montrose Beach 'Pier'?

Geoffrey Baer

In this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert Geoffrey Baer revisits a Streeterville puppet show, examines underground architecture on the Blue Line and digs deep into the history of Montrose Beach.

Ask Geoffrey: The Story Behind the Illinois and Michigan Canal

A little-known waterway built in the 1830s allowed Chicago to grow not once, but twice! Hear the story of the crucial canal that you may never have heard of, and the story behind one of the South Side's best known public works of art in tonight's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Geoffrey Baer Explores 'Chicago's South Side' in New Show

Geoffrey Baer shares his stroll through Chicago's South Side in a show that premieres tonight.

Ask Geoffrey: Nov. 18

Geoffrey Baer

The famously irascible Frank Lloyd Wright estranged two artists on a single short-lived project. Learn the fate of Wright's lost Midway Gardens and play tennis at the Kenwood Country Club as local history expert Geoffrey Baer heads to the South Side.

Ask Geoffrey: Nov. 11

Local history expert Geoffrey Baer visits the towering walls on the south lakeshore and a swampy nature area in the middle of an industrial neighborhood in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: Nov. 4

What happened to The Pickle Barrel Restaurant in Old Town?

Geoffrey Baer

Local history expert Geoffrey Baer gets schooled at Midway Airport, snags a free pickle at a long-lost Old Town favorite and soars with 19 terracotta eagles in Lakeview during this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey, Oct. 28

Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer cruises by with the history of the Illinois Tollway oases, a Chicago lass on Irish cash and O'Hare's sleek new air traffic control towers in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey

Geoffrey Baer visits a towering turtle on the Near West Side, a retro motel in River North and a vanishing South Side lake in this week's encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Putting 'Chicago' into the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Amanda Williams, "Color(ed) Theory"

Geoffrey Baer returns with more dispatches from the Chicago Architecture Biennial, including bold proposals for the future of its host city.

Ask Geoffrey: Oct. 7

What happened to the Olson Rug Company’s garden?

In this edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert Geoffrey Baer makes a splash at a long-gone waterfall, visits a bar with an unbeatable view of the Chicago skyline and tells the fishy tale of an Albany Park building.

Preview of the First Chicago Architecture Biennial

Cutting-edge architecture built by a robot, spiders and even you! That's just a small part of what you can experience when the Chicago Architecture Biennial opens Saturday at the Chicago Cultural Center and sites around the city. Geoffrey Baer has been watching 75 top architects put the finishing touches on it all, and he's here to give us a preview.

Ask Geoffrey: Sept. 24

What happened to the puppet theater on Michigan Avenue?

In this edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert Geoffrey Baer revisits a Streeterville puppet show, examines underground architecture on the Blue Line and digs deep into the history of Montrose Beach.

Ask Geoffrey

Revisit a favorite episode with our resident history expert

Geoffrey Baer answers viewer questions about a unique painting that adorns an Old Town condo building, a prolific mural painter of the 1920s and '30s, and the origins of a giant map of Chicago that's visible from the river in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey, which originally aired on March 25.

Ask Geoffrey: Sept. 8

What happened to The Pickle Barrel Restaurant in Old Town?

Geoffrey Baer

In this edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert Geoffrey Baer gets schooled at Midway Airport, snags a free pickle at a long-lost Old Town favorite, and soars with 19 terracotta eagles in Lakeview.