July Chicago Events In Architecture And History

Architecture and history of Chicago are the focus of our weekly events listings, and this week we share with you July Chicago events in 2014 including a special event on forgotten movie theaters, an architectural bike ride, and a special tour of Prairie Avenue.

portage park chicago movie theater
Photo Credit: Jenn Harrman

1. Movie Theater History Event – SPECIAL LECTURE

Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. – Tuesday, July 15th, 7:00pm

$5 suggested donation at door

The recently reopened historic Portage Theater hosts this Forgotten Chicago one-night-only event on the history and legacy of more than a century of movie theaters in Chicago. The 1920 movie theater originally sat 2,000 eager film goers and is now the perfect spot for a night of reminiscing in Chicago’s cinema house history. Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago, hosts the evening which includes photographs and images from the Forgotten Chicago database not seen in decades while Bill Savage, acclaimed author, editor, and Northwestern University’s Distinguished Senior Lecturer, offers insight.

2. Guided Bicycle Tour of Oak Park – BIKE TOUR

105 S. Marion St., Oak Park – Friday, July 18th; Saturday, July 19th; Sunday, July 20th, 9:30am-11:30am 

$30 members, $35 non-members – reservations recommended

This is an architecture tour for the more active enthusiast. During the summer months this year the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is offering this two-hour bike tour around the picturesque Oak Park every Friday, Saturday and Sunday where you’ll explore over 22 Wright-designed buildings. Sites featured include the Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Frank Thomas House, Heurtley House, Cheney House, Furbeck House and more. The Trust has partnered with Greenline Wheels, where the tour begins and ends, so you can either bring your own bike or use one of theirs at no extra charge.

3. Prairie Avenue Walking Tour – SPECIAL TOUR

1800 S. Prairie Ave. – Sunday, July 20th, 2:00pm-4:00pm

$12 members, $15 non-members – reservations recommended, call 312.326.1480

Executive Director of the Glessner House Museum and author of Chicago’s Historic Prairie Avenue, William Tyre, leads guests around none other than Chicago’s historic Prairie Avenue on this special tour. As the end all be all of the street’s history, Tyre is the ideal guide to share everything from Fort Dearborn to the neighborhood’s resurgence as a residential hot spot in Chicago. During the tour you’ll also see images of grand homes that have been lost, walk by the eleven remaining mansions, and step inside both the Wheeler Mansion and the 2nd Presbyterian Church.



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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.

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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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