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Putting the “Toddle” Back in “That Toddling Town”

  Postcard designed and sold by appshop. The “toddle” was a jazz dance step that became popular across the nation just in time for the Roaring Twenties. And Chicago became known as “that toddling town” thanks to the lyrics of Fred Fisher’s 1922 song “Chicago (That Toddling Town).” While many still know Frank Sinatra’s famous cover version of that song, the dance step has largely been forgotten. In a 1921 South Bend News-Times article, dance teacher Arthur Murray describes the toddle as having the “delightful abandon so characteristic of everything American.” According to Murray, the toddle was similar to the shimmy but without the shoulder shakes. It also bore a resemblance to the fox trot but with an extra bounce added to the steps. Songwriter Fred Fisher was not the first to associate the toddle with Chicago. A variation of the toddle, which focused on movements of the hips rather than the feet, was called “the Chicago toddle” or simply “the Chicago.” In 1921, a print advertiseme
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Burlesque Dancer Sally Rand Took the Chicago World's Fair by Storm

Sally Rand danced at the Streets of Paris exhibit. Postcard printed by Curt Teich & Co, Chicago. Sally Rand was never supposed to perform her iconic “fan dance” at the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. The dancer’s requests to perform inside the Streets of Paris exhibit had been turned down several times. But Rand decided to take matters into her own hands by riding into a pre-opening party on the fairgrounds, uninvited, on a white horse wearing nothing but a velvet cape. The crowd loved it. Rand was arrested but released the next day, when she promptly accepted an offer to perform as the headliner in the Café de la Paix’s floor show for $90 per week. While her dancing broke boundaries and city decency ordinances at the time, her legacy was born and Rand made her cultural mark on the world. According to The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair by Cheryl Ganz, 29-year-old Sally Rand had previously worked as an acrobatic circus performer and film stuntwoman. She had also alread

Going to Graceland

Graceland Cemetery is also known for its beautiful landscape and magnificent trees. Postcard printed by V.O. Hammon of Chicago. Situated at Irving Park Rd. and Clark St. near Wrigley Field is Graceland Cemetery, a scenic 119-acre burial ground and arboretum where many of Chicago’s elite have been laid to rest. The cemetery was established in 1860 by lawyer Thomas Bryan and designed by landscape architects H.W.S. Cleveland, Ossian Simonds, and William Le Baron Jenney, who is also known for designing the first skyscraper. Graceland became famous as the “Cemetery of Architects.” Along with its three designers, other prominent architects who are buried in Graceland include Louis Sullivan, who designed the Carson Pirie Scott building; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed Chicago’s Federal Center; and Fazlur Khan, who designed the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center. The grave of architect Daniel Burnham, who was chief of construction for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, lies on a small, wo

Sweets in the City

Louis XIV Candy Shop at 163 State Street. Published by Curt Teich & Co., Chicago. Since the late 1800s, Chicago has been the "home sweet home" of a  number of candy companies, making it known as the "candy capital of the world." Chicago made an ideal place for candy-making for a variety of reasons. The city’s location near the center of the U.S. made it a transportation hub, and its proximity to the Great Lakes made it easy to ship raw ingredients in and finished products out. Chicago also had a strong labor force made up largely of immigrants, who worked in candy factories or opened sweet shops using candy recipes from their homelands. Charles Gunther is believed to be the first person to produce and sell caramels in America. An immigrant from Germany, Gunther ran a successful candy factory and store, first on Clark Street and then later on State Street after he rebuilt his business following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At the Columbian Exposition of 1893

A Slice of Italy in Chicago

  The Italian Courtyard of Le Petit Gourmet once had a cocktail bar and served lunch, tea and dinner in the late 1940s, according to a description on the back of the postcard. The Italian-style courtyard shown in the postcard was loved by many before it was razed in 1967. The scenic “slice of Italy” located near 600 N. Michigan Ave. featured shops, restaurants and about 20 apartments for artists. The courtyard was surrounded by three buildings that were fitted together between 1919 and 1926. The Chicago Daily Tribune wrote that the project was one of the earliest private urban renewal projects in the city. When the first building was acquired by the Ira B. Cook estate, Michigan Avenue was still named Pine Street and the area was surrounded by soap factories and breweries. The new owners handed the building and its development over to Architect Robert S. DeGolyer, according to the Tribune. The idea for a shop-studio compound was also worked up by artists Nancy Cox McCormick and Fre

Where Can A Lady Eat Around Here?

Club El Bianco at 2747 W. 63 St. Postcard published by Curt Teich Co., Chicago. During the early 1900s, women had limited options for eating out. This posed a problem for women out on long errands or shopping trips, and it especially posed a problem for working women. What was a hungry lady in Chicago to do? Chicago was home to about 8,000 saloons in the early twentieth century, and many offered free food with their drinks. However, it was not considered respectable for women to patronize these establishments, and many saloons officially banned women altogether. The Berghoff Restaurant at 17 W. Adams St. Published by Thiessen Printing Corp., Chicago. Women were allowed in the restaurant area of The Berghoff but not the bar. The Berghoff, located on Adams near State Street, was one of these places. In operation since 1898, The Berghoff served free corned-beef sandwiches on rye with their 5-cent beers. According to The Berghoff’s website (www.theberghoff.com), women were not allowed at

Marshall Field's at Christmas

  The aisle on the first floor of the State Street store is 358 feet long. Postcard publisher is unknown.  Many Chicagoans continue to miss visiting Marshall Field’s during the holiday season. Just talking about the famed Christmas windows and holiday decorations brings about memories of the department store’s glory days. Many of us can recall the strong smell of perfume that would greet visitors upon entering the flagship State Street store, along with the huge white Romanesque columns decorated with Christmas fare on the first floor. The real fun, however, was taking the elevator to the 7 th floor to get a glimpse of the giant Christmas tree inside the Walnut Room restaurant. The best place to view the tree was one floor up on a balcony area. Christmas decorations on the first floor. Postcard publisher is unknown.  Frango mint chocolates were piled high in various areas throughout the store, and many visitors couldn’t resist buying a box. Frango chocolates were once made in a kitc