Architecture of Mysterious Chicago - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

Architecture of Mysterious Chicago

Author Adam Selzer highlights the histories and unsolved mysteries of the city's landmarks.

In this incredible evening, author and historian Adam Selzer combines an architectural tour—featuring a broad range of the city’s architectural history from post-fire Cast Iron buildings to modernist masterpieces—with an unbelievable historical tour, including tales of “Hell’s Half Acre,” the early gangland criminals who stalked State Street, strange murders, unsolved mysteries, and more.
From the Art Deco flash of the Board of Trade building to the Beaux Arts splendor of The Rookery, few cities boast such a broad range of stunning architecture as Chicago. But there’s more to the story than just the architects and ornamentation: There’s a hidden observation deck locked away in the Board of Trade, “White City Devil” H.H. Holmes was a known face in the Rookery, and an early airship crashed into the building that stood between them in 1919!
The tour is endlessly fascinating, ridiculously informative, and totally entertaining. You won't just learn what to look for in architecture, you'll hear which gangster jumped out of which building, which used to contain gambling dens, and which were once bombed by The Black Hand—all based on deep research, not just urban legends! 
Your host, Adam Selzer, is the author of Mysterious ChicagoH.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil, and several other books. In addition to writing, he hosts the Cemetery Mixtape podcast and has been a tour guide in Chicago and New York for more then a decade.

Additional Details:

  • The tour begins and ends in the historic Pickwick Place courtyard - on Jackson between State and Wabash, across from the Barnes and Noble.
  • This tour goes on rain or shine.
  • ADA Access limited by the quality of Chicago’s sidewalks.
  • The starting location is convenient to public transportation; Pickwick Place is within two blocks of the Jackson red or blue line stops, the Library/Van Buren brown line, or the Adams/Wabash stop on the brown, pink, green, orange, or purple lines).  The #29 State bus stops at Jackson, is also near by.
  • Plenty of parking lots are nearby, but street parking and free parking are very hard to find in The Loop. 


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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.