Stories by Erica Gunderson

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.

Ask Geoffrey: Sept. 2

Where was Bacon's Arena, the site of Joe Louis' first pro match?

Geoffrey Baer

In this edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert goes ringside at Joe Louis' first professional knockout, rides by the site of long-lost Logan Square mansion, and finds out what's cooking at a former bread-baking palace.

Ask Geoffrey: August 26

Who designed the Marshall Field’s clock?

In this edition of Ask Geoffrey, viewers ask our local history expert about the Marshall Field’s clock, a World War II memorial in Lincoln Park and the Chicago Federal Building’s dome. 

Ask Geoffrey: August 19

What happened to Goldblatt's? Was there a Nazi rally at Soldier Field in the 1930s?

Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer revisits what was once billed as "America’s Fastest Growing Department Chain" in Back of the Yards, takes us to a 1936 German Day rally at Soldier Field, and finds the location of a star-spangled bridge featured in a photo from the 1960s.

Ask Geoffrey: August 13

How did Andersonville get its name? Was an artist once shot at the MCA?

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.

Ask Geoffrey

Soldier Field, Dream Lady & Kenwood Branch

Geoffrey Baer answers viewer questions about a dreamy memorial, Soldier Field no-man's land, and railroad ruins on Chicago's South Side in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey

Auto Wash Bowl, Balbo Column & Baldwin Ice Cream

Geoffrey Baer tells a sweet South Side success story, tests the waters at an unusual car wash, and finds the facts behind a fascist monument in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: 7/1

Fit Firefighters, Addison's Adventureland, and City Sailors

Geoffrey Baer digs into the history of handball in Chicago firehouses, rides the Cinderella Train at Adventureland, and sails away with the Rainbow Fleet.

Ask Geoffrey: 6/24

Geoffrey Baer Heads to the Pier

It's finally summer! Geoffrey's headed for the lakefront with three questions about the area around Chicago's most popular tourist destination.

Ask Geoffrey: 5/20

Who makes the city's flowery fireworks happen every summer? Geoffrey Baer digs into Chicago's public gardens, plus visits West Englewood's Old Abe and a gate to nowhere in Streeterville.

Ask Geoffrey: 4/29

Gaga for Googie in River North

Geoffrey Baer visits a towering turtle, diamonds in River North, and a vanishing south side lake.

Playing Games in Chicago

Chicagoans are solving mysteries and playing games on date night and loving it! A panel of Chicago's gamers and puzzlers will talk about how geek has become chic -- and how you can get in on the play.

Ask Geoffrey: 3/25

Muralists Who Painted the Town

A Russian-born artist painted the town in the 1930s, but very little of his mural work is left. Where can you see these stunning panels? Geoffrey Baer answers this question and more in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: 3/18

Let's Cross That Bridge When It Swings Shut

Geoffrey Baer tours a Miracle House, swings by a bobtail swing bridge, and makes some noise at a silent film studio in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: 2/18

Lake Forest & Streetcar Sandboxes

Geoffrey Baer looks into the history of the African-American community in Lake Forest and tells the sandy story of a streetcar secret in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: 2/11

Auto Wash Bowl, Balbo Column & Baldwin Ice Cream

Geoffrey Baer tells a sweet South Side success story, tests the waters at an unusual car wash, and finds the facts behind a fascist monument in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: 1/28

Trader Vic's & Wrigley Coal

A viewer remembers a gardenia-garnished cocktail from Trader Vic’s, but can’t recall the name. Geoffrey Baer plays drink detective in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.