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'Afternoon Shift' #196: The art of Chicago history

Before the month is out, Chicago should have Wacker Drive back. We talk about the historical significance of this Chicago drive and other Black Friday related history gems with WBEZ History Blogger John R. Schmidt. And we'll check in on the state high school football championships.


  1. Lower Wacker Drive entrance
    Lower Wacker Drive entrance
  2. Welcome to the show! This is Justin Kaufmann. I'm filling in for Katie O'Brien and the rest of the Afternoon Shift crew today. They are all waiting in line for TVs. Rick Kogan is in the building though, so we are ready to go. Here is what is on the show today:
  3. Sometime very soon, the dreaded Wacker Drive construction will be done and the famous Chicago drive (upper and lower) will be open. We'll talk about the history of Wacker Drive. Call in with your favorite Wacker Drive story. 312-923-9239. 2pm-3pm.

    My favorite story? The night my wife's water broke, Lower Wacker Drive was my route to get to Prentice hospital. I was a first-time parent and I was very prepared with the route. I knew exactly how much time it would take. That was pretty much my only job pre-birth. So I followed my plan and made it to the entrance at Monroe and it was closed! It was closed because they were shooting a movie. It was the Dark Knight and the action scenes with the Batmobile and Heath Ledger. Luckily it was 3am, so all routes were open and we made it with plenty of time to spare. So when you watch that scene in Dark Knight, you think of the late Heath Ledger. When I watch it, I think of my son being born. Then I promptly shut the movie off in disgust (shoot on your own time, Hollywood).

    Okay, moving on: We will talk history of department stores. Rick will be joined by WBEZ blogger John Schmidt. He'll give us nuggets of Chicago history, including the little known story that the Marshall Fields building is not the original location.
  4. And what's the Thanksgiving weekend without high school sports? We check in with Chicago Tribune's Tim O'Hallaron to size up the IHSA championships. I don't follow, but something tells me Mt. Carmel is involved. Why? Cause when is Mt. Carmel not involved in winning high school football? Anyway, great thoughts on whether or not we should even continue high school football.
  5. We have the filmmaker and a former principal in studio to talk about the new film Curators of Dixon School. It's about the role of art in public schools. Pamela Sherrod Anderson and Joan Dameron Crisler will join Rick in studio to talk about the film and the very unique approach to art in the classroom at Arthur Dixon Elementary in Chatham.
  6. Next - a poor, relatively unknown couple joins Rick in studio. They are part of some play, I guess? Chicago region, meet the Cratchits.
  7. And that should do it. On your day of rest, we strive to bring you a great show. Our intention is to make your day even better. You are welcome, Chicago.