Obsessions, originals and oddities #AtoZChallenge

Chicago from A to ZAs 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!



I must admit, I’m slightly obsessed with Chicago’s Art Deco style. Although it’s something I probably wouldn’t use to decorate my own home, there’s something so stunning about the gilded, over-the-top age of decorative bits and pieces at every turn.

For instance…

"Macy's many stories" image by Flickr user Jacob Surland

“Macy’s many stories” image by Flickr user Jacob Surland

"Harris Trust & Savings Bank ~ Chicago IL ~ Elevator Locator/Mail Box" image by Flickr user Bill Badzo

“Harris Trust & Savings Bank ~ Chicago IL ~ Elevator Locator/Mail Box” image by Flickr user Onasill ~ Bill Badzo

"33 North LaSalle St ~ Chicago IL ~ Lobby" image by Flickr user Onasill ~ Bill Badzo

“33 North LaSalle St ~ Chicago IL ~ Lobby” image by Flickr user Onasill ~ Bill Badzo

The ornate embellishments of the Art Deco style are really intriguing, for some reason, even though my own style preferences tend to be more minimalist.


Some of Chicago’s many original inventions include:

    • Ferris wheel
    • The word “asswipe” (courtesy of novelist Saul Bellow, 1953)
    • The phrase “on fleek” (courtesy of Chicago teen Kayla Newman, 2015)
    • Deep dish pizza
    • Kielbasa
    • LSD (to refer to Lake Shore Drive, not acid itself)
    • Doo-wop
    • Meatpacking
    • Birth control pills (you’re welcome!)
    • Playboy (sorry, ladies…)
    • Televised political debates (sorry, world…)
    • Pullman sleeping cars on trains
    • Skyscrapers
    • Nuclear reactions


In 1900, the flow of the Chicago River was reversed by the city. Instead of flowing into Lake Michigan, as it naturally did, the river’s flow was reversed for sanitary reasons: namely, preventing sewage from polluting the lake (the city’s main source of drinking water), which in turn worked to curb infectious water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid.

But, oddly enough, scientists are currently pondering the possibility that the flow of the river should be reversed again – allowing it to flow back into Lake Michigan – due to concerns related to climate change.

"Gotham River Front" image by Flickr user CEBImagery

“Gotham River Front” image by Flickr user CEBImagery

Your turn!

What’s your favorite Chicago obsession, original or oddity?

Additional Resources

6 Responses
  1. Ah Chicago! My favorite city. Not the place of my birth but the city I now call home!

    I’ll have to read all your posts now!

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Adventure!

  2. Annette says:

    Very informative post…thank you!
    Best Wishes,

    My A2Z @ Annette’s Place | Follow Me On Twitter

  3. JazzFeathers says:

    Art deco is probably my favourite stile. I do have a few things in my home that belong to that style.

    Reverse the flow of the river? How’s that possible?

    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

    • Basically, they set up a series of locks to reverse the river’s flow into Lake Michigan, instead diverting it into a drainage canal they built called the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Apparently it wasn’t too difficult to reverse the flow, since Illinois is quite flat, and so the river flowed “sluggishly” toward the lake to begin with; coaxing it to turn around and head the other way wasn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. ;D