As in years past, this month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. 2016 marks my fifth anniversary, so to celebrate, I’m hosting Friday Blog-Ins here in San Diego; you can find out more info about where we’re meeting each week on my A to Z Challenge page.
My monthly theme is Chicago From A to Z, so stay tuned from Monday to Saturday for new posts on the Windy City. Or sign up for my mailing list (delivered weekly, on Fridays) so you don’t miss a thing!
There are at least three notable “Fields” I can think of in Chicago, just off the top of my head. There are probably many more! But here are the three most influential:
- Marshall Field’s
- The Field Museum
- Field Notes
Let’s examine them one at a time, shall we?
Named after its founder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Marshall Field, this department store was a well-known Chicago institution for decades. Founded in 1852, its official name was “Marshall Field and Company,” but as with many Chicago institutions, it was best known locally by its apostrophied shortening.
Now owned by the evil Macy’s empire (boo, hiss!), loyal locals continue to protest the rebranding underneath the State Street store’s historic clock every year in September.
Indeed, the site of the store itself will never truly be a Macy’s, no matter what the name on the banners outside. The store itself has designated historic (National Register of Historic Places) and landmark (Chicago Landmark) status as the Marshall Field and Company Building. So take that, New York fat cats!
A minty footnote: While I identify Frango Mints with the Marshall Field’s brand, it seems these green and brown chocolate mints were not a Chicago original after all, but were indeed only popularized by the department store.
A bookish footnote: Marshall Field’s even pioneered the concept of book signings at its State Street store – along with the idea of revolving credit and the installation of escalators in a department store.
The Field Museum
The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Founded in 1893 as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago, the museum was originally named The Columbian Museum of Chicago.
How did it come to be named The Field Museum? In honor of its first benefactor, Marshall Field (yes, the same man who the department store was named after!), the museum changed its name in 1905. So, while Marshall Field’s department store may no longer exist, his legacy lives on in the cultural history of the city through the museum he helped fund.
Made in the U.S.A., Field Notes are a popular brand of notebooks that are made in Chicago by the Draplin Design Company and Coudal Partners.
My favorite of their recent limited editions is definitely the Tournament of Books Rooster notebook:
In addition to being awesome because of the crowing rooster, the Field Notes peeps also donated $4 from every purchase to 826 National, a writing resource for young people. Sweet, right?
If you live in Chicago, you can even order Field Notes’ notebooks online and pick them up in The Loop, instead of paying for shipping.
What “fields” make you want to frolic – in Chicago or elsewhere?
Giveaway: San Diego from A to Z
Want to read the book I wrote last April, based on my A to Z posts about San Diego? I’m giving away two paperback copies of San Diego From A to Z over at Goodreads, so click here and enter to win! AND I’m giving away one free ebook copy every day until the end of April to a random commenter here on the blog. Leave a comment every day for another chance to win!