Three Special Events In Architecture and Chicago History This Week

For this week’s list of special events in architecture and history, we are highlighting a talk of unexpected stories of downtown buildings, a workshop to discover and preserve this history of your home and neighborhood, and a discussion on improvement projects in historic Jackson Park.

public speaker architecture history amanda scotese
Photo Credit:Kate Joyce


1. Unexpected Stories of Nearby Buildings You Never Knew – Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Library

TALK – Wednesday, March 12th, 5:30pm

FREE, Reservations required – send names of all guests to

Join Chicago Detours Executive Director Amanda Scotese for a discussion on the unexpected history and stories behind buildings in the financial district. The talk will feature the Continental Bank Building, home of one of the biggest bank failures in history, and the Marquette Building, home of the MacArthur Foundation and the quirky John D. MacArthur. She’ll talk about the interesting and sometimes weird uses of the Union League Clubhouse over history, including a secret bar. The presentation is free and open to non-members, allowing outsiders a rare glimpse at the club’s beautiful architectural interiors.

2. Discover Your Home’s History Workshop – Blackstone Branch Public Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

WORKSHOP – Wednesday, March 12th, 6:00pm-7:30pm

FREEreservations required (RSVP at 773.329.4243)

Ever wondered about the history of your house or been curious about the development of your neighborhood? As part of the NHS Chicago Vintage Home Series, architectural historian and historic preservation consultant Carla Bruni gives you the tools to discover the history of the places that matter to you. Also included in this special event in architecture will be a lesson on how to get your home, block, or neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with insights into the potential tax benefits associated with National Register designation.

3. Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park – Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Claudia Cassidy Auditorium

LECTURE – Thursday, March 13th, 12:15pm


Robert Karr, Jr., an attorney, author, and urban parks advocate will discuss the improvement of Jackson Park through projects he is leading including the Garden of the Phoenix, one of the most important sites in America reflecting the past and the future of U.S.-Japan relations. In 2013, over 120 cherry blossom trees were planted in and around this site to commemorate its extraordinary history and to usher in a new era of the Garden the relationship between these two nations in Chicago. The lecture is part of the Friends of the Parks’ Walter Netsch Lecture Series.


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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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