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Geoffrey Baer on a mysterious lakefront structure in this week's Ask Geoffrey. 

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Two famous Germans take up permanent residence in Chicago, only to witness the evolution of a West Side neighborhood. Geoffrey Baer goes long on two enduring Humboldt Park statues.

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An iconic Chicago building could soon be facing an identity crisis. Geoffrey Baer has the backstory of a prominent – and sometimes underrated – member of Chicago’s skyline.

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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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