Encyclopedia of Chicago Now Dysfunctionally Online

Lauren posted last November about the Encyclopedia of Chicago going on sale in hardback. Now it’s online. Maybe your first reaction was like mine — cool! But, oh my, if the content weren’t so rich, the site would be a forget-about-it failure. It’s a complete headache to navigate.

For example, I drive across Goose Island almost every day, so I’ve been meaning to read a little history about it. When I searched “Goose Island” on the site, the first two responses (out of 128) were “Goose Island (Authored Entry)” and “Goose Island (Interpretive Digital Essay – Photo Essay).” What does “Authored Entry” vs. “Interpretive Digital Essay” mean? I assumed the first entry would be what I wanted. It was a short paragraph. But, the second entry, marked “photo essay,” featured a much more substantial written history of the island. I was lucky to have stumbled across it.

Oh, there’s more, but I’ll stop. It’s enough to make my head ignite, and you’ll certainly discover it for yourself. What a shame. All this great content about this great city stuck in a Rubrik’s cube website.

Anyway, here’s some cool stuff I was able to find despite it all:

This 1893 advertisement for the Mosely Folding Bath Tub Company that used to be located on Canal Street.
This map of how blues clubs have shifted around the city since 1945.
This haunting 1897 video of cattle being driven to slaughter in the Stock Yards. Footage taken by the Thomas A. Edison Company.

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