kungsholm puppet opera

Can you imagine Swedish fine dining and an evening of miniature puppet opera (yes, miniature puppet opera) at a restaurant off Magnificent Mile in Chicago? Imagine, my friends. It was the Kungsholm restaurant at Rush and Ontario that operated the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera from 1937 to 1971. For real.

Highly detailed puppets in miniature.

The venue even had an orchestra pit (complete with hydraulic lift) sporting 52 players. This is the conductor Tosci.

The Swedish American Museum in Andersonville currently has this episodic/operatic amazingness on display. Enjoy.

oak park river forest museum

A few blocks from my apartment building is Cicero Fire House No. 2, built in 1898 and reborn in 2017 as the Oak Park River Forest Museum.

If you’re curious about local history and those who built the cities of Oak Park and River Forest, this is a fun visit.

There is a parade of Boy Scout figures fashioned by folk artist John Hagensick.

And a painting by Edwin Reed Hemingway that was found crumpled under a house porch.

chicago’s historic pullman district

Love history? Chicago’s Historic Pullman District might be for you. Located 12 miles due south of downtown Chicago, Pullman is a planned industrial town from the 1880s plopped in a prairie.

Industrialist George Pullman constructed the town for his workers, and the town’s architecture is thoughtfully designed. To learn about the town’s unique history, head on over here.

the renumbering of chicago streets in 1909

Chicago street numbers are wonderfully orderly, and we can thank the Chicago City Council for passing an ordinance in 1908 that established numbering rules and systems where chaos once reigned. If you’ve visited Chicago or call it home, all you need are coordinates (the north/south/east/west blocks) to find a specific address. The new numbering system took effect on September 1, 1909, and if you’re really lucky, you can find buildings with both numbers.

Buildings with both numbers are pretty uncommon. In the 25 years I called Chicago home, I only found three buildings with both street numbers intact. The older street number is usually reflected in a stained glass transom window above the door, as in the three-flat at 1107 S. Racine.

Old street n

Earlier this week in Lincoln Park I found this on the 2000 block of N. Dayton. Squeal. What a cool surprise.

Want to nerd out and learn more about the renumbering plan and implementation? You can read up on both here.

lost and found: the unbelievable journey of vickburg’s guy brown

Mississippi Public Broadcasting is a treasure trove of interesting radio programming. There’s the stuff you expect as a public radio listener anywhere in the U.S.: NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, for example. And then there’s stuff that’s unique to Mississippi–the hourly call-in gardening show to Felder Rushing (it’s such a great show).

Occassionally MPB will offer a program called Conversations. The host, Marshall Ramsey, is a celebrated Mississippian. He’s an author, a guest speaker, and cartoonist for our state’s newspaper, The Clarion Ledger. Sometime back in November I was puttering around in my car, as I am wont to do, and Marshall had the most interesting interview. It was with John Mosely, I believe. John was explaining the most incredible tale of a World War II pilot from #Vicksburg. His name was Guy Brown.

Guy Brown

John bought a TBM Avenger, an old U.S. Navy bomber, with the hopes of restoring it to its former glory. And in the process of restoring this plane, John found Guy. John did more than find Guy. He found that Guy’s mom kept a diary of his military service on a wall in the basement of Guy’s childhood home, which is located on Drummond Street in Vickburg. This wall captures Guy’s last tour–the day he died–July 28, 1945.

Guy Brown wall

You have to watch this video to appreciate this exceptional history.