Stories by Erica Gunderson

Ask Geoffrey: A Long-Lost State Street Hot Spot

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.

Ask Geoffrey: Lincoln Park Statue in Mexico City?

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. 

Ask Geoffrey: A 1917 Army Parade on Michigan Avenue

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.

Deep Frydays: Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Before they say goodbye for the summer, Nick and Erica have a frying finale befitting our fair city: a teeny-wiener version of the Chicago-style hot dog.

Deep Frydays: Potato Chip-Crusted Polish Sausage

What do Polish sausage, potato chips and Plochman’s mustard have in common? They all come together to make a delicious snack.

Terra-Cotta Treasures Tell Chicago’s Neighborhood Stories

To truly appreciate the charm of a terra-cotta lavished building, Chicago author and photographer Lee Bey says to put on your gym shoes and go for a walk. We join him for a look at some of the city’s early architecture.

Deep Frydays: Fry the Rainbow

Like the city itself, the Rainbow Cone is a painterly masterpiece of colors and tastes, each separate and distinct, which together somehow become more than the sum of their parts. 

Deep Frydays: Fine, We’re Doing Malort

Earlier this month, we took you on a tour of a distillery that produces Malort, the Chicago-born liquor that inspires devotion – and disgust. This week, we pour out a hefty helping of the stuff and stick it in the fryer.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s the History of the Chicago Huskies?

The Chicago Huskies (Credit: Japanese American Service Committee)

A youth basketball league from the 1940s and ‘50s is a reminder of Japanese American internment during World War II. Geoffrey Baer has that story and more in this edition of Ask Geoffrey.

The Best Chicago Film Archive You’ve Never Heard Of

If you’ve ever marveled at archive footage of old Chicago in a WTTW documentary, chances are good it came from Walt Keevil’s north suburban basement.

Deep Frydays: Take a Pizza My Heart

In honor of the Fourth of July, we deep-fry what is perhaps Chicago’s greatest culinary contribution to America – and the globe: deep-dish pizza.

The Streetscape Symphony of Chicago’s Brick Buildings

Brick enthusiast Will Quam

From houses of worship to working class homes, brick built Chicago. And brick enthusiast Will Quam believes Chicago is one of the nation’s best showcases for all that a brick can do. 

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to Immel State Bank?

Geoffrey Baer deposits some knowledge about buildings left behind by the banking panics of the Great Depression in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Deep Frydays: Brownie Disaster

For our new summer series, we take some of Chicago’s favorite foods and, like the name says, we deep-fry them and deal with the big questions. Today’s sacrifice to the gods of hot oil: brownie batter.

Deep Frydays’ Maiden Voyage: Giardiniera Mix

How do you deep-fry giardiniera? We find out in the first installment of our weekly summer series Deep Frydays, where we go deep on an iconic Chicago food and then sacrifice it to sizzling oil.

Chicago Nonprofit Wants to Make Credit Work for Everyone

(JESHOOTS-com / Pixabay)

The nonprofit Working Credit says understanding how credit ratings work and building your own credit rating is much easier than you might think – and even more important than you might know.

In ‘A Shoppers’ Paradise,’ the Story of How Women Shaped Chicago’s Loop

How did fights over high hats and hoopskirts shape Chicago’s downtown as a shopping destination? We talk with the author of a new book about women and consumer culture at the turn of the century.

Zero-Waste Advocate Shares Strategies for Reducing Trash

Chicago sustainability advocate Stephanie Katsaros

In many ways, modern American life is set up for convenience and speed – and that can generate a lot of garbage. What you can do at home to reduce your waste output.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s ‘Heinemann Studio’ Building in Back of the Yards?

When walking through Chicago’s older neighborhoods, you can often find hints about the history of the buildings just by looking up. Geoffrey Baer looks back – and up – at some architectural gems.

Teens Ditch Fast Fashion, Food for Fair Trade

(Courtesy Chicago Fair Trade)

Young Chicagoans have joined the fair trade movement – and they want you to get on board, too.

Are Marriage and Non-Monogamy a Match?

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

What’s it like to date around while staying married? A Chicago writer shares her experiences diving into the world of consensual non-monogamy.

Age and the American Presidency: How Old is ‘Too Old’?

President Donald Trump listens in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington on Monday, March 25, 2019, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks. Trump signed an official proclamation formally recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

The Constitution says anyone under 35 is too young to be president, but are candidates in their 70s too old? What science can tell us about aging and job performance.

‘Hesburgh’ Studies Life, Work of Notre Dame’s Iconic ‘Father Ted’

A new documentary examines the legacy of legendary Notre Dame President Father Ted Hesburgh. We speak with the film’s director and producer.

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to Immel State Bank?

Geoffrey Baer deposits some knowledge about buildings left behind by the banking panics of the Great Depression.

New Research Downplays Importance of Counting Calories for Weight Loss

(Matt Madd / Flickr)

The idea of the calorie was developed nearly 200 years ago and has proven to be a poor measuring tool for the speed-driven American diet.