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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.

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A viewer’s photo of her mother at a glamorous restaurant in 1940s Chicago left her wondering where the photo was taken. And we finally address an elephant in the room at Marshall Field’s.

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Shel Silverstein, left, performs on “Soundstage” at WTTW in 1979. (WTTW News)

What does a song about a mythical creature have to do with one of Chicago’s most prolific – and unusual – artists? Geoffrey Baer explains.

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55 West Wacker Drive, originally the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, is an archetypal example of brutalism. (WTTW News)

Love it or hate it, the architectural style known as brutalism has left its mark on cities all over the world. So what’s the story of brutalism in Chicago? Geoffrey Baer weighs in.

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How did a Lincoln Park statue wind up standing in cities all over the world? Geoffrey Baer goes south of the border for the answer. 

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What do a train ride and an army parade have in common? Geoffrey Baer investigates two Chicago publicity stunts in this installment of Ask Geoffrey.

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Before search engines and Wikipedia, where could Chicagoans go when they needed to know something fast? Geoffrey Baer serves up the story of a popular information service.

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Geoffrey Baer shares the story behind a unique Chicago-made typewriter and the ornate 1907 building that served as its headquarters. 

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Today, taking a picture is as easy as a single click on a phone. But for many years, the process was much more intricate and time-consuming. Geoffrey Baer shines some light on the now largely forgotten event. 

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Northeastern Illnois University’s El Centro campus in Avondale (World Architects / Facebook)

More than 350 buildings open their doors to the public this weekend. Geoffrey Baer takes us behind the scenes of several unique buildings featured as part of Open House Chicago.

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