Announcing the Chicago Detours Scholarship for Local History Students

We have some cool news to share! Our tour guides are very proud to help spread the word about the Chicago Detours scholarship for local history students. We want to support awesome scholars in Chicago history. And we’re also rolling out a grant program for local non-profits. We tour guides at Chicago Detours fund these two programs by donating part of the the gratuities we get from our public walking tours

Chicago Detours Scholarship

For the scholarship, we are awarding $10,000 to 1-2 undergraduate or graduate students’ tuition. We’re looking for students studying of Chicago’s history, architecture, tourism, sociology, urban geography and archival research. We’re looking for folks with outstanding achievements, demonstrated leadership, and financial need. Deadline for application is November 15, 2017.

The funds for this scholarship have come from the donations of tour guides for the last three years. As we tell guests after each tour, we like to make an impact outside of leading tours. So the Chicago Detours tour guides, including yours truly, have been giving 50% of our tips to our scholarship fund. It’s a way to say that expanding our understanding of history can go beyond just that of our tours.

Giving Program

We’re also announcing the Chicago Detours Giving Program. This will give a grant to a local non-profit that contributes to our community via education, archival work, and/or job training in the fields of history, architecture, urban studies, and the arts. Chicago Detours is looking to support a specific program, class, or project.

We want to support something specific so that we can understand where the money goes and feel a greater connection to something good! This is why we are not supporting general funding. We will promote the winning organization on our website as well a press release, blog posts, social media, and descriptions on our walking tours. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and we’ll do it for one to two years.

Just like the Chicago Detours scholarship, the grant recipient will be funded through tour guide donations. We have an average of 275 tour guests per month. The guides give 50% of their gratuities from those guests to these initiatives.

We want to be a part of a bigger community beyond our tiny office in the Monadnock Building, and this is our way to give back! Applications for both the scholarship and Giving Program are available on our website.

Normally, a small businesses like ours isn’t exactly in the business of giving money away. So, please do spread the word to philanthropic groups or any history teachers and professors you may know!

-Amanda Scotese, Executive Director of Chicago Detours


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”


Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”


Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K


Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F

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