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Thursday, February 29

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Andrew / July 6, 2005 3:15 PM

(Thanks to Yet Another Jen for the question; if you have a question idea for Fuel, email it to inbox@gapersblock.)

I'd love to go back to the Columbian Exposition. It must have been amazing.

robin.. / July 6, 2005 3:49 PM

another vote for the Columbian Exposition. the mind boggles at what it must have been like...

Chris / July 6, 2005 4:44 PM

Disco doubt

Waleeta / July 6, 2005 4:46 PM

The Chicago fire, 5 minutes before it started, or the Democratic National Convention that ended in riots in 1960-something.

Steve / July 6, 2005 5:04 PM

Any poker game that Nelson Algren was sitting in on. Or all of them.

Erica / July 6, 2005 5:09 PM

It would have been cool to visit Riverview at some point.
Ride the Tunnel of Love or something.

Hal / July 6, 2005 5:11 PM

Definitely the Columbian Exposition and the '68 Democratic Convention. And standing across from the Biograph when Dillenger got killed.

e_five / July 6, 2005 5:48 PM

I would love to have gone clubbing along Rush Street back in the early 1960s, when live Niteclub acts played at Mister Kelly's, Gate of Horn, Trade Winds, The Cloisters, the Playboy Club, etc. You could bounce from club to club to catch Lenny Bruce, Sarah Vaughn, Kingston Trio, Dick Shaun, Buddy Hackett, Bob Newhart, Stan Getz, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Gibson, Jack Teagarden, etc.

anna / July 6, 2005 6:16 PM

U2 at the Park West in 1981.

susan fox / July 6, 2005 6:53 PM

Oh, no contest. The '68 demonstrations. How I wish we were demonstrating now. Why such complacence?

Michael / July 6, 2005 8:25 PM

The Columbian Exposition was my first choice, but as it is such a popular answer, I'll now go with the Century of Progress World's Fair of 1933-34, where I would look for my late grandfather who worked as a concessionaire for the Italian Village.

Benjy / July 6, 2005 8:41 PM

The 1906 World Series -- Cubs vs. White Sox

mike-ts / July 6, 2005 8:52 PM

Since most of you are going for big things, I'll try something a little less grand, but something that better warms the cockles of my heart:

To be a kid again and attend a Bozo's Circus show live. The old Bob Bell Bozo & Mr. Ned version, when they had a whole band in uniform, and not just one guy on a synthesizer.

To sit there while the flashing white arrows picked through the crowd, hoping to be able to try to win the bag of silver dollars for hitting all six buckets, or just have some cool Milton Bradley or Tonka stuff if I didn't.

And waving at the camera as I walk by, when Bozo leads the Grand March at the end.

Nick / July 6, 2005 10:01 PM

I would go back to right before the Haymarket incident to learn what it was like when labor unions were powerful. I don't know that I would want to be at the Haymarket riots, but it would be interesting to see the raw outrage from that incident.

DCE / July 6, 2005 11:07 PM

Like most everyone else, I'd do just about anything to visit the Columbian Exposition (if I were feeling really adventurous, I might swing by the H.H. Holmes "studio") and wouldn't at all mind paying a visit to the Century of Progress.

But if I had to choose, I think I'd like to go all the way back to the frontier days of the Sauganash Hotel. Lots of drink, ladies of the evening, and wolves howling on the prairie. Them were the days.

Alice / July 6, 2005 11:45 PM

1. 1893. Columbian Exposition. Was it really all that? Also the year my great-grandmother was born in Chicago.
2. 1908. To see Cubs win World Series. :)
3. 1995. Re-live Pearl Jam at Soldier Field because I'm still secretly a grunge girl at heart.

mike / July 7, 2005 2:42 AM

early 1950's Chicago--for the seeds of our great comedy heritage.


Roni / July 7, 2005 9:18 AM

1908 - To see the Cubs win a World Series
1968 - DNC

kate / July 7, 2005 9:46 AM

I would have to agree with just about everything above: Columbian Expo, Cubs win, '68 Democratic National Convention, Haymarket...except instead of the '95 Pearl Jam or '81 U2 concerts I'd probably pick the Wilco concert a couple months ago...

But to add something new I would've loved to watch the Sears Tower being built.

Kevin / July 7, 2005 9:46 AM

The Old 97s (back when they were geeks, not glamour boys) at Lounge Ax.

Pete / July 7, 2005 10:01 AM

Ditto on the Algren poker game. Sitting in on the Black Sox trial would have been fascinating as well. But my guess is that the Columbian Exposition wouldn't have been nearly as awe-inspiring to 21st Century people as it was to simpler folk of the 19th Century.

Paula / July 7, 2005 10:15 AM

For an event I'd like to return to, I'd like to go back to one of the Naked Raygun shows that I saw at the Metro in the early 80's - back when they still showed old cartoons on portable movie screens before they came on stage (and back then you could stand right up in front of the stage - there was no bouncer barracade back then).

For an event before my time I have to agree with the folks who mentioned the Century of Progress fair - my dad was about 8 at the time and he talks about how cool it was all the time. He also talks about the six-day bike races that they used to hold at the Chicago Stadium and they would be worth a viewing too.

m / July 7, 2005 10:16 AM

The real estate closing (in which I would be the purchaser) on a 2,000-square-foot single family home with a nice backyard in a north side neighborhood convenient to public transportation, circa 1993.

Pat / July 7, 2005 10:21 AM

How about a week in the early 70's

*A Cubs game with real bleacher bums
*Second City in its prime
*John Prine and Steve Goodman in Old Town
*Muddy Waters and any number of great bluesmen every night
*Maybe I could even sneak into a Saul Bellow class at U of C

Carlotta Hamilton / July 7, 2005 11:09 AM

Celebrating at Harold Washington's victory in 1983.

Being at City Hall on the tumultuous night when Eugene Sawyer was selected as Acting Mayor after Harold's death in 1987. Things have been so staid since!

And on a lighter note, listening to Bonnie Koloc sing at the Earl of Old Town in the early 1970's.

Jay Peterman / July 7, 2005 11:25 AM

I would most certainly go back to the Columbia Exposition Worlds Fair. Just to see the white city and the city at the time.

NotSoHealthy / July 7, 2005 11:46 AM

Beatles at Comiskey Park

kate / July 7, 2005 11:55 AM

Pete -
I completely disagree. I think the Columbian Expo would've been amazing to see even to us. The number of buildings they constructed (almost all of which no longer exist), including the Art Institute, is astonishing and their massive scale is breathtaking. I mean, they really went all out. Google it for some pictures.
That's enough for me but you also have the fact that 46 nations participated and over 25 million people attended. It's hard to believe all that happened in Chicago over 100 years ago.

kate / July 7, 2005 11:57 AM

besides, that's not the point...

jima / July 7, 2005 12:14 PM

Some moments that haven't been included yet:

* John Belushi's Second City debut in June of 1971 (the revue title: "No, No, Wilmette")

* the filming of the Blues Brothers movie in 1980, just to see the stuntwork in action

* Larry Lujack's retirement from WLS-AM in 1987

* the first performance of "Too Much Light" in December of 1987, which is soon to become (or possibly has already become, depending on who you ask) the longest-running show in Chicago theater history

Ducky / July 7, 2005 1:19 PM

To see the Cubs win the 1908 World Series.

Mister C / July 7, 2005 1:33 PM

The big ones have already been mentioned; Columbian Exposition (the Levee District back in the 1890's would have been a trip as well), Century of Progress, dancing a reel and then putting on paint and feathers for a rousing Pottowattami dance at the Sauganash Tavern in 1830 (great call DCE), and Haymarket (from a safe vantage point where I could have seen who the hell threw the bomb).

Others: 63rd Street back in the 40s-50's (I once overheard a bunch of old musicians waxing rhapsodic about how you could start down side of 63rd on Thursday night and not get back to the other side of the street until Monday morning, there were so many hot and cool joints to hit), Louis Armstrong in the 20's, Bird at the Jazz Showcase in the 40's, Coltrane there in the 50's-60's, Muddy and the whole Chess gang anywhere anytime.

I'm a massive history geek, so I could spiel them off all day, but I'll stop. Damn, one of you young geniuses out there needs to get a working "holodeck" up and running!

Sox Amo / July 7, 2005 1:48 PM

Midway Airport, September 1959, welcoming the White Sox home after winning the pennant with 30,000 other fans after staying up all night drinking Falstaff Beer and listening to air raid sirens.

emdub / July 7, 2005 3:09 PM

Club Dreamerz in the early 90's. I think Nirvana played there. Actually, any good old Wicker Park scene from the Early 90's. Urbis Orbis. Milk of Burgundy. Math. Scissor Girls. Cheap rent!

hench / July 7, 2005 4:29 PM

along similar lines, i would be very interested in seeing the loop/gold coast/west loop/river north areas as they were in the 70s-80s... same goes for clarkbel & wickerpark... would be hard to reconcile million dollar homes with skid row... if anyone has photo links or ideas, please post... thanks.

bridget / July 7, 2005 4:49 PM

I'll second U2 at the Park West!!!

Adam / July 8, 2005 3:34 AM

I would have gone back with Ferris Bueller on his day off, that would have totally rocked!

Andy / July 8, 2005 9:27 AM

Bears '85/'86.

Thought that was a no brainer.

waleeta / July 8, 2005 10:24 AM

bands? really?

curtsy / July 10, 2005 6:20 PM

Waleeta, you need to bone up on your history before you fire up the wayback...

Nick, labor unions were to become much more powerful and effective in the twentieth century.

Mister C, we've hardly even scratched the surface here.

How about January 1900 when the flow of the Chicago River was reversed? Or going further back to 1848 when the I&M canal was completed and connected the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi?? The first train (from Galena)also rolled into town in 1848 and by 1856 the city was the nation's railroad hub. Ah, the boom of the 50's & 60's (nineteenth century, BEFORE the fire...)

For vice & entertainment there were/are many other options beyond the Levee District. What of Bronzeville in the 1940's? Uptown in the 1920's? West Madison in the 1970's? (By the way, Mr. C, 63rd Street in the 40's was an excellent suggestion.) To chase Algren, how 'bout crawlin' down Division Street back in the late 40's??

As for cheap real estate on the northside near public transpo, m, why not step back a little further into the 80's or 70's?? But would your dollars convert?

And what a waste of technology to use a trip back into the time to simply hang out in Wicker Park in the early 90's! Been there. Done that.

As for sporting events, how about the night in 1937 when Joe Louis knocked out James Braddock for the heavyweight title of the world? Or maybe May 1, 1900 when Jack Johnson knocked out his first white opponent, an Aussie by the name of Jack Scanlon, in the seventh round??

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