“No one thinks about a flat place having a continental divide—but there’s one that runs through the Chicago area. On the Southwest Side [in Oak Park and other suburbs], there’s an old glacial ridge: To the west of that line, all water flows into the Mississippi River; to the east, water flows into the Great Lakes.”
“Chicago was a national center for beer brewing. In 1900, there were 60 breweries—that’s no secret. But we came across a provision from 1886, and it specified beer breaks for [brewery] employees designated at 6am, 9am, 11am, 2pm and 4pm. And they limit you to three glasses at a time. Sounds like a pretty good gig. One brewery is still around—although it’s no longer making beer: The Schoenhofen [18th St and Canalport Ave] is a Chicago landmark.” The building now houses a telecommunications firm and a construction company, but plans are in the works to restore the building to house a restaurant, galleries and other businesses.
“Blues legend Willie Dixon is internationally known and absolutely essential [to blues]. But a little-known fact is he actually came to Chicago as a boxer; he won a Golden Gloves title and even sparred some with Joe Louis. Now there’s a Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation in the old home of [legendary blues label] Chess Records [2120 S Michigan Ave; tours Mon–Fri noon–4pm, Sat noon–2pm].”