Posts

The Chicago ‘Y’

Photo Credit: Blogspot

by Emily Speelman

Do you recognize this symbol? If you look close enough, this image is all over the city. It can be found on government buildings, bridges, memorials, on city works equipment (like power boxes and sewer grates), and even in the GSC logo!

So what does it mean and why is it all over the city? This image represents one of the city’s most fundamental and iconic features: the Chicago River. More specifically, it shows Wolf Point, where the river’s three branches come together. Here, the river divides the city into the North, West, and South sides.

Source: Imgur

The ‘Y’ image was first created in 1892 for a contest run by the Chicago Tribune. In 1917, this symbol was designated as Chicago’s Municipal Device. This means that businesses, city departments, and citizens alike can use the image to symbolize the city of Chicago. While the ‘Y’ is universal, the user can change the colors to their liking. The ‘Y’  is one of the oldest signifiers of the city – even older than the Chicago flag!

Though the symbol was less frequently used at the end of the 20th century, the iconic ‘Y’ can be found all over the city represented in a variety of mediums and colors. Other places that feature the municipal device include: the Chicago Cultural Center, City Hall, Millennium Park, Harold Washington Library, and, perhaps the most famous, the marquee of the Chicago Theater!

Photo Credit: Blogspot

Where else have you spotted the Chicago ‘Y’?

Read more:
https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicagos-municipal-device-the-citys-symbol-lurking-in-plain-sight/fd9cf47b-904e-4654-ad06-ff7fc8727758

https://www.chipublib.org/chicago-facts/

Illinois Geographic Alliance’s Summer 2017 Workshops

Geographic Thinking in Action: Using Maps and Other Primary Sources in the Elementary School Classroom

The IL Geographic Alliance invites you to attend one of its two-day workshops to:

  • Learn about programs and resources available from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Program and the Illinois Geographic Alliance, a member of the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education
  • Examine K-5 national and Illinois geography standards for learning (new Illinois standards effective 1/2016)
  • Explore geographical and historical thinking
  • Discuss strategies to help develop student’s critical thinking and inquiry skills
  • Work with experienced educators, geographers, and historians
  • Analyze maps and primary documents using both geographical and historical thinking tools and techniques
  • Receive a variety of resources and materials ready for immediate classroom use
  • Earn Professional Development hours (at no out-of-pocket cost)

For information and registration visit iga.illinoisstate.edu.

 

 

April 29 -30: NASA Space Apps Hackathon at DePaul University!

Save the date, April 29th and April 30th NASA SpaceApps Challenge! Weekend long “hackathon” for brainstorming solutions to Earth problems, using NASA open data, citizen science, and more. Participants can work alone or in teams, and promising projects will be sent on to NASA for review and potential awards.

Part of NASA’s Earth Science Division, SpaceApps has become the world’s largest global hackathon, engaging thousands of citizens each year across the globe to work with NASA in building innovative solutions challenges we face on Earth and in space using open source data. Diverse and collaborative teams of technologists, scientists, designers, entrepreneurs, and others work together in a 48-hour sprint to develop answers to some of the most pressing challenges facing planet Earth using NASA data. Over 15,000 citizens from 61 countries and in 161 cities around the world participated in the 2016 International Space Apps Challenge.

SpaceApps Challenge Chicago is also looking for volunteers and mentors to help with the event and guide participants with their project ideas during the event. Visit the SpaceApps page for more information and for registration: https://2017.spaceappschallenge.org/locations/chicago-il/ . For updates, follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/spaceappchicago .

For more information, contact the DePaul University Department of Geography: geography@depaul.edu or the Geographic Information Systems Coordinator, Cassie Follett:  cfollett@depaul.edu

The “L”: The Early Years

by Emily Speelman

Along with the Bean and the Willis Tower, there is one Chicago icon that is not only central to the city’s identity, but is used by tourists and residents alike on a daily basis: the ‘L’ (also known locally just as the CTA). Including both Chicago’s bus and train systems, thousands rely on this system to get to school, work, and around the city. Currently, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) manages the eight different train lines and roughly 130 bus routes running in Chicago and several nearby suburbs, such as Skokie, Evanston, and Oak Park. The CTA serves roughly 3.5 million people a day with an average of 515.3 million riders (bus and rail) during 2015. According the CTA’s website, Chicago’s public transit system is the second largest in the United States (after New York City), running 224.1 miles of track and roughly 1,300 miles of bus lines. The L also services both of Chicago’s airports (O’Hare and Midway), making travel into the city easy and inexpensive for visitors. But how did the Chicago Transit Authority come to be and acquire these vital train and rail lines, most notably the famous elevated tracks?

Though the Chicago Transit Authority wasn’t established until 1947, the city’s first pedestrian rail lines (which would become the L) began running in 1892. The system expanded from its original parameters of Congress and 39th street after Chicago was chosen to host the 1893 Colombian Exposition. The first rail line, which is south branch of the Green Line today, now reached down to 63rd and Stony Island so visitors could get to the fair on these new trains. Until the opening of the CTA, however, each line was opened by a different company. The elevated (“L) Loop opened in 1893 and, as companies built more lines, Chicago’s downtown became a transportation hub of different trains. This lack of unity, however, led to fierce competition for ridership on the different lines and an increase in fares for those needing to switch between lines to reach their destination.

The four original companies running Chicago’s elevated trains merged into the Chicago Rapid Transit in 1924 under the leadership of Samuel Insull, who was the president of what is known today as ComEd. Though Chicago’s trains improved after this merge, the government still had a minimal role in the transit system. This proved problematic at the beginning of the Great Depression, when huge ridership drops and financial losses forced them to step in. The Chicago Transit Authority officially took over for the Chicago Rapid Transit in 1947 and they have controlled Chicago’s public transit ever since.

Sources:

http://www.transitchicago.com/cta70/

http://www.transitchicago.com/about/facts.aspx

https://www.wbez.org/shows/eight-fortyeight/120-years-ago-chicagos-first-l/3cd19039-42f1-4c15-a1c1-a6345cf57790

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-blogs/how-the-chicago-l-grew/cce82b68-9091-4e0c-8e9a-1d55e4c73b2e

 

Events

GSC’s Annual Meeting and Whisky Tasting at Duke of Perth

(Featured image: Boyd G Photography)

As members and supporters of GSC we invite you to join us for our 2017 Annual Meeting, with a private dinner and whisky tasting at the Duke of Perth on Wed., June 28.

While savoring some of the finest single malt whiskies created in Scotland, the Duke’s Master of Whisky, Martin Duffy, will discuss the distinctions between the types of whisky based on region and production techniques. 

Dinner is to follow, that includes Duke of Perth’s famous fish and chips!

Cost: $75 per person

The Duke of Perth was named “Great Whisky Bar of the World” in 2006 by Whisky Magazine!

To register for the event click here!