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Geoffrey Baer shares the history of Chicago’s original tiny houses – coach houses – in this installment of Ask Geoffrey. 

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Geoffrey Baer on the reform school that was once WTTW’s neighbor.

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Geoffrey Baer serves up some fast food history with a side of super signs in this week's Ask Geoffrey.

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(WTTW News)

They’re rare now, but rooftop water tanks once stood sentinel atop every large building in the city, keeping them safe from threat of fire.

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Geoffrey Baer has the scoop on some Chicago ice cream history.

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Geoffrey Baer shares the story of a clash between women’s suffragists and anti-lynching activists.

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Charlie Finley participates in the WTTW auction in 1976. (WTTW)

Longtime viewers might remember a time when for one wild week a year, they could buy everything from spark plugs to mink coats right here at our studios. Geoffrey Baer revisits that era.

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(WTTW News)

Longtime Chicago Ald. Roman Pucinski once said, “There’s nothing as crucial to an alderman as garbage.” So how did garbage cans become a source and symbol of political power in this city? Geoffrey Baer talks trash.

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Chicago common brick. (Courtesy Will Quam)

Chicago’s brick buildings put on a refined face for the street side, but if you peek past the facade, you’ll find that what’s holding them up is a little bit rougher. Geoffrey Baer has this history of the Chicago common brick.

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History buffs are big fans of historical markers, those often-overlooked plaques that tell the tales of site-specific events from years past. Geoffrey Baer tells us about some unusual historical markers around Chicago.

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(WTTW News)

A onetime tree nursery became a bucolic place of rest and recovery for tuberculosis patients on Chicago’s North Side. Geoffrey Baer has the story of a decadeslong battle against a contagion.

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As Chicago baseball fans hunker down and hope for the return of their favorite summertime sport, a viewer wonders how Chicago sports soldiered through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

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The Spanish flu pandemic (Library of Congress)

In 1918, a deadly strain of influenza killed more people than World War I, and thousands of Chicagoans were among the dead. But it could have been much worse. Geoffrey Baer explains.

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The 1918 Spanish flu was not even close to being Chicago’s first bout with fast-spreading disease. Geoffrey Baer looks at how Chicago managed a tidal wave of diseases in its earliest years.

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Chicago’s “L” lines are today operated by the centralized Chicago Transit Authority. But for many years, private companies actually ran and managed individual branches. Geoffrey Baer has the story of one of them.

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Fulton Market was once an integral part of Chicago’s meatpacking industry. (Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

Fulton Market in Chicago’s West Loop is home to some of the city’s trendiest restaurants – and its highest rents. But the area’s history as an economic powerhouse is anything but new. Geoffrey Baer takes us back.

Ask Geoffrey a question