Stories by Erica Gunderson

Ask Geoffrey: White Castle Inspired by Chicago Water Tower?

Was the design of White Castle restaurants based on a Chicago landmark? Geoffrey Baer has the answers you crave.

Viewer Feedback: Soda Pop is the New Tea

The soda tax repeal was met with cheers from some Chicago Tonight viewers.

Ask Geoffrey: Neptune’s Follies Make a Splash at Century of Progress

Geoffrey Baer takes a peek at a 1930s burlesque-style show and remembers the Chicago Daily News sporting events of yesteryear.

Ask Geoffrey: A ‘Pipe Dream’ of the 1893 World’s Fair

Geoffrey Baer explores an eccentric architect’s wacky proposal for the World’s Fair in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: The Warrior Walls of General Jones Armory

The walls of a South Side armory tell the history of warriors throughout the ages. Geoffrey Baer shares that story and more in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Chicago’s Great Forgotten Food Festival

The Taste of Chicago may be the granddaddy of local food festivals, but it was not the city’s first. We remember a 1977 event that offered another “taste of Chicago” at McCormick Place.

Ask Geoffrey: Who’s Holding Up This Southeast Side Building?

Since about 1915, a 7-foot-tall stone man has been shouldering a heavy burden on the corner of a Southeast Side building — more than hundred years without a break! But there’s some debate as to exactly who he is.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was an anarchist, feminist and freethinker at a time when just talking about birth control was enough to get you imprisoned.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Ruth Hanna McCormick

To honor the first female senator – who was an agriculturally minded lady – we concoct a drink straight from the farm: a dairy base that gets a spark from corn whiskey and would work hot or cold.

Ask Geoffrey: Why No Ketchup on Hot Dogs, Chicago?

Geoffrey Baer explores why hot dogs and ketchup don’t mix in Chicago in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Esther Saperstein

This week, we raise a glass to the moms who hold it down in the House (and the Senate) with a concoction as American as apple pie—fragrant applejack, tough whiskey and snappy lemon and ginger. 

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Anna Langford and Marilou von Ferstel

To honor the first women of Chicago’s City Council, we mix smoky mezcal and bright grapefruit juice. It’s sweet but not too sweet, sharp but never bitter, and tough enough to duke it out with the best (or worst) of ‘em. 

Ask Geoffrey: The History of Freemasonry in Chicago

Secret handshakes, arcane symbols and initiation rites are all hallmarks of the Freemasons, an organization shrouded in mystery. Geoffrey Baer explores their history in Chicago in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Margaret Horton Potter

From the start, young Miss Potter was a virtual word machine, publishing a book of verse at age 12. This week, we mix up a deceptively delicate cocktail inspired by the original pink drink. Cheers!

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to the Young Abraham Lincoln Statue?

“Young Lincoln” by Charles Keck

Geoffrey Baer has the story of a statue's journey from a library to a North Side park in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”  

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to the Everleigh Sisters

We raise a glass to a pair of sisters who made a fortune as brothel owners in the City of Big Shoulders with a ladylike drink.

Ask Geoffrey: Was There a Panda at Lincoln Park Zoo?

Geoffrey Baer solves the mystery of a viewer’s “vague memory” from the 1940s, revisits the Century of Progress and opens the door to the Evanston History Center in this encore edition of “Ask Geoffrey.”

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Alice Peurala

For decades, the steel industry forged Chicago’s industrial spine. Now, we forge a no-nonsense drink for the no-nonsense lady who brought the titans of steel to their knees.

Looking for a New Hobby? Just Axe

A Portage Park range takes a whack at bringing axe-throwing to Chicago.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Marion Mahony Griffin

We raise a glass to one of the first female architects in the U.S. with a rum-based sipper that creates beauty from the sour, the bitter and the strange.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Myrtle Bachelder

We toast the analytical chemist and former South Side resident by switching up the elements of a classic Manhattan.

Ask Geoffrey: What Are Your Favorite Chicago ‘Firsts’?

Chicago might be called the Second City, but we can lay claim to a few big historical firsts. Geoffrey Baer shares his favorite firsts in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Historical Happy Hour: A Toast to Frances Glessner Lee

Try our smoky twist on the classic bloody mary in honor of a crime scene pioneer who trained police detectives with her gruesome dioramas.

1930s, ‘40s Films Uncovered at Historic Rogers Park Church

Still image from 1947 film footage of St. Paul’s Church by-the-Lake uncovered by Jeff Nichols.

After finding the first known moving images of the 1915 Eastland disaster, a UIC graduate student uncovers a treasure trove of vintage films about a neighborhood church and its congregants.

Ask Geoffrey: Lyric Opera’s Marquee Mystery

Geoffrey Baer drops the curtain on an opera house mystery in this week’s encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.