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Pilgrim Baptist Church

Monadnock Building.
Monadnock Building. 53 W. Jackson Blvd. GTJ Photo.

I am grateful to those academics who have enriched my understanding of my own city, particularly the visitors.
This began when I was a freshman at Yale College.  Vincent J. Scully, Jr., Professor of Art History, included many Chicago buildings in his course on architecture.  I discovered the importance of the Monadnock Building, an important transitional work.  The north part, to the right,  is the last skyscraper to use a wall-bearing structure.  Its base walls are six feet thick. The south addition used the steel-frame construction innovated in Chicago.

I am particularly grateful to the professors of history of have come to visit and let me show them around town.
The first was James Campbell of Oxford University.  He had taken me on a tour of his own town of Norwich, England, and I returned the favor by taking him around Chicago.  The contrast between visiting a bucolic cathedral town and visiting a city as vibrant and diverse as Chicago was great.
One of my favorite times each year is when Robert McJimsey, Professor of History at Colorado College, comes to town.  He leads a month-long program at the Newberry Library each year, and this always gives me an opportunity to seek out new places to visit in Chicago with a willing and curious observer.

Jackson Park
Robert McJimsey, the author and friends, visiting Jackson Park.

The Harold Washington Library Center, the successor to the original main library, opened in 1992.  As part of the opening festivities, Asa Briggs, Professor of History at Oxford University and the head of my college there, gave the first lecture.  I learned something new about my city.  He recalled that Queen Victoria had been so impressed with the will of the Chicagoans to overcome the Chicago Fire of 1871 that she had taken it upon herself to send the people of Chicago a collection of her own books.  The spirit of "Regeneration" is evoked in this sculpture on the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River.

Chicago Temple
Chicago Fire in stained glass. Chicago Temple. GTJ photo.

Michigan Avenue Bridge,  "Regeneration."
Michigan Avenue Bridge, "Regeneration." GTJ Photo

Finally, I am most grateful for the many visits of Harry G. Pitt, a great teacher and a great friend, from Oxford's history faculty.  My account of those visits, "Different Worlds," was included in a memorial book.  Click here to see the text:  "Different Worlds."  I gratefully dedicate this website of Chicago History to the memory of Harry G. Pitt.