Entries tagged with “Chicago History”.

Mather’s More Than A Cafe- Chatham.

33 E. 83rd Street

Friday, January 31 1PM

Although not officially part of the Columbian Exposition, the Midway Plaisance shaped America’s taste in popular entertainment well into the next century, and (for better and worse) influenced the young nation’s attitude toward other countries and cultures in ways still visible today.

For this special Chatham appearance on the eve of Black History Month, Historian/Lecturer/Tour Guide/Standup Comic Michael Corcoran will discuss the African-American presence at the Exposition (a story much more complex and involved than even many Exposition scholars are aware), the controversies in the Black community over participation in and exclusion from the Fair, and how exhibits at the Midway and the Exposition contributed to systemic racism and colonialist attitudes of white Americans.

After discussing these sociopolitical aspects, Michael will provide a virtual tour of the Midway interspersed with the fascinating, poignant and often hilarious stories of the polyglot mélange of humankind which inhabited this mile of boulevard in 1893.

An informative and amusing presentation that is not to be missed!

Young Chicago bachelors flocked to this replica of Medieval Vienna to enjoy expensive beers served by beautiful Austrian girls.
Ida Wells, her future husband Ferdinand Barnett, Frederick Douglas, and Garland Penn collaborated on this pamphlet decrying the injustice of African-Americans being officially excluded from the Exposition.




Hey Columbian Exposition Fans!

I will be going out of town in a blaze of Historical Lecturing Glory with three Columbian Exposition presentations (at three separate Mather’s More Than A Cafe locations) set before I depart:

June 29 at 2:15 PM. (3225 N. Central)
The Midway Plaisance (Part 2).

July 10 at 1 PM (33 E 83rd St)
The Columbian Exposition Virtual Tour (Part 1)

July 13 at 1 PM (7134 W. Higgins)
The Foreign Buildings (Part 4)

I’ll also be posting about them individually as the dates approach. Also doing three more Hollywood On Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition Presentations that I’ll be flogging as well.

BTW- I’ll give a Special Rate if anyone wants to host Part 3 (The State Buildings) in their apartment! 

That would actually be pretty easy if you have a computer-enabled TV and PowerPoint on your system. Have a Chicago History Party!!!



I will be giving Part 3 of my Columbian Exposition Lecture Series at 1PM on Thursday, July 25 at Mather’s- More Than A Cafe, 7134 W Higgins Ave. I will be spieling out some fascinating historical knowledge. Although this is seriously obscure stuff, even those not intimately familiar with the Exposition will be amused and enthralled. If you have read Devil In The White City by Erik Larson you will be especially edified by this presentation.


Mather’s- More Than A Cafe

7134 W Higgins Ave.

1PM Thursday, July 25


Part 3- The State Buildings At The Columbian Exposition Of 1893

Although reviled by critics at the opening of the Exposition because their idiosyncratic designs clashed with the classical style of the Court of Honor and other major structures, the State Buildings became increasingly popular with visitors as the summer wore on due to their generously large porches and comfortable reception rooms. From Virginia’s exact replica of Mount Vernon to California’s sprawling Spanish Style structure, each building reflected their State’s populace and zeitgeist in a unique way. In part three of his five part Columbian Exposition Lecture Series, Michael explores all of the State Buildings and relates the fascinating and often hilarious stories of their creation, as well as tales of the countless parties and receptions which made that area one of the liveliest of the entire Fair.

Suggested Donation $8



A view of the State Building area looking southeast. The Kansas Building is in the right foreground and the Texas Building is on the left.