Chicago has a rich history, dating all the way back to 1833. Though we’re famous for deep dish, baseball, and blustery winters, there all sorts of things you may not know about…

Take a “tour” of Chicago throughout history via The Guesthouse Hotel lobby art!




(From left to right)

1930’s Traffic Jam – Though we all may complain about the traffic downtown, thank goodness we don’t have to deal with 1930’s traffic!

Marshall Field’s &  Co. Building – This landmark building, now housing Macy’s on State Street, has faced two fires (including the Great Chicago Fire) and was built originally in 1852. (Hint: You’ll also notice the Marshall Field’s & Co. insignia on the top of the second trunk on the right stack in front of you.)

California Railway Advertisement - Vintage Union Pacific Railroad Chicago to California from 1898.

The Great Chicago Fire – The Great Chicago Fire burned 3.3 square miles of Chicago from October 8th to October 10th, 1871. It killed over 300 people and left over 100,000 homeless. However, the city bounced back in record speed in time to host the 1893 World’s Fair.

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel – The Ferris Wheel was invented in the 1893 World’s Fair. This photo is of the currentFerris Wheel at Navy Pier, but the original (seen in the second bathroom) was twice as large and had 36 train-sized cars that fit up to 40 people at a time!

Comiskey Park – This ballpark housed the White Sox from 1910-1990 and was the site for four World Series (one of which was for the Cubs).

1893 Chicago World’s Fairgrounds – Dubbed “The White City,” these fairgrounds were designed by architect Daniel Burnham. If you are interested in learning more about the fair, check out The Devil in The White City.

The Berghoff – Recieved the very first Chicago liquor license after prohibition.



(From left to right)

Lincoln Park – This honeycomb structure is a part of the new nature boardwalk in Lincoln Park. If the weather is nice, definitely consider walking the grounds!

Buckingham Fountain - Founded in 1927 inside Grant Park, this is one of the largest fountains in the world.

The Bean – Formally known as “Cloud Gate,” this sculpture is an iconic symbol of Chicago found in Millennium Park. It measures 33’x66’x42′ and weighs 110 short tons.

The “El” – Our train system is the third largest in the country after NYC and Washington D.C. The name “L” or “El” is actually an abbreviation for “elevated” since most tracks run above ground.

Diversey Bowl – The electric sign outside the Diversey River Bowl is well known by Chicago locals.

Chicago River – Every year on St. Patricks Day the City of Chicago dyes the river green!

Marina City – Often referred to as the honeycomb or corncob buildings, Marina City is an iconic part of the riverscape and houses so many amenities it is considered to be a “mini city” within itself.



(From left to right)

Civic Opera House – Though beautiful, this building was finished right before the great depression in 1929, and was soon in financial trouble.

The Moving Bridges of Chicago – Chicago has 37 moving bridges along its riverfront — more than any other city in the world.

A Pre-Fire View of Chicago – This is a view of Chicago before the Great Fire of 1871.

Wrigley Field – The home of the Chicago Cubs is the oldest National League ballpark and the second oldest active major league ballpark (after Fenway Park on April 20, 1912), and the only remaining Federal League park.

Onion – The word “Chicago” comes from the Native American Miami-Illinois word meaning “stinky onion.”




(From left to right) 

Vintage postcard – A vintage postcard of an historic Chicago building.

Al Capone – One of the most notorious American gangsters of the 20th century, Al Capone made Chicago home until he was eventually convicted of tax evasion. 

President Barack Obama - President Obama originally came to Chicago to teach at the University of Chicago Law School, and eventually became an Illinois State Senator before running for President.

Chicago’s White Album – This album was recorded by the famous rock band in 1971 in Carnegie Hall.

1892 Columbian Exposition/ 1893 World’s Fair Half Dollar - An original silver half dollar that dates back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Charlie Trotter – This award winning chef (who passed away in 2013), ran the well-known Charlie Trotter restaurant which was named the 30th-best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine, and 5th-best in the United States in 2007. In 2010 Charlie Trotter was one of three restaurants in Chicago to be awarded two stars by the Michelin Guide.

Ernest Hemingway – Was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois (a neighboring city).




Vintage Postcards – An assortment of vintage Chicago postcards from the 1930’s featuring Chicago landmarks.



(From left to right) 

Michael Jordan – Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles, and was voted the Finals MVP a record six times. Michael Jordan scored more points per game than any player in NBA history, with a 30.1 average, and his 32,292 career points scored rank as the third-most in NBA history.

Oscar Meyer Wiener – An old article, found at Architectural Artifacts, reveals that the those famous giant hot dog cards were in fact made in Illinois.

Chicago air show - Chicago’s well known Air & Water Show takes place every summer in mid-August since 1959.

Lincoln Park Conservatory - The Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo are great free activities. If you have a chance to visit in the holiday season, they also have a free “Zoo Lights” exhibit that is a fun family activity.

Cubs + White Sox  - Since 1997, the White Sox and Cubs have routinely played each other six times each year (one three-game series at each stadium). Based on the availability of tickets and the prices offered through ticket brokers, these games are among the most anticipated of the season.

Chicago Flag – The flag of Chicago has two horizontal blue stripes to represent Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The four red stars represent: 1) Fort Dearborn, 2) The Great Chicago Fire, 3) Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and 4) Century of Progress Exposition of 1933.

Century of Progress Exposition Card Box – This is the box for the deck of World’s Fair cards found on the opposite wall next to the barn doors.

PBR Coaster – Though Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is made in Milwaukee, it got its “blue ribbon” in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!

Pilsen – This fun and eclectic Chicago neighborhood is located in the heart of Chicago, three miles southwest of the Loop.

A Map of Chicago – Find many of your favorite landmarks and neighborhoods on this reproduction 1953 map of the city.



A set of 1933 World’s Fair Cards – Each card features a scene from the fair.