When Jonathan and I visited Chicago in June, I took a boat tour through the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF).

Several groups provide architecture boat tours in Chicago. I found no large difference in the ticket prices. I googled the reviews for 3 of these operators, and they all had high marks. To be honest, I almost didn’t choose the CAF tour because one of these reviewers noted that his CAF tour guide provided extensive architectural detail. This intimidated me. However, in the end I chose the CAF tour because its ticket booth and docks were the closest to our hotel.

To be honest again, my knowledge of architecture is limited to what I learned during the Victorian Christmas tours in Pittsburgh (in Allegheny West). So I don’t know much. And downtown Chicago architecture is much newer because  almost all of it was built after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I learned on the tour that many of the featured buildings were on the sites of other buildings that had been torn down specifically be rebuilt, sometimes many times over.

My CAF tour guide was a volunteer, as they all are. His enthusiasm for architecture did not bore me or, more importantly, make me feel stupid.

And I managed to not ask about Chicago’s serial killer  H.H. Holmes. Even though I wanted to do so.

 

Anyway, the podcast Lore by Aaron Mahnke has TWO episodes about H.H. Holmes. Here they are:

Episode 8: The Castle

Episode 63: Homecoming

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I like to watch and listen to strangers in public. At the park. In restaurants. In stores. On the train.

Several years ago, I rode the Amtrak by myself from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited. I sat in the coach section.  A man and woman sat behind me. They were both white and slightly older than myself. This couple – especially the man – talked throughout the ride. To each other and to the conductor. Also, the man spent large portions of the ride talking on his phone.  I never spoke to this couple, and yet I learned much.

The man grew up in Connellsville, PA. He most recently lived in Louisiana. He and the woman had just taken the Amtrak from New Orleans to Washington. Now, they travelled from Washington to Connellsville on the Capitol Limited.  At which point they intended to show up with no prior notice at the home of the man’s parents in Connellsville.

The man had not seen his parents for 17 years.

During the course of our train ride, the man called various friends in Connellsville. He needed someone to give them a ride from the train station to his parents house.

So that he could show up unannounced on his parents’ doorstop after 17 years.

In between these phone calls, the woman asked the man if he thought that his parents would like her.

The Amtrak stops in Connellsville before it reaches Pittsburgh. This couple disembarked and I never heard from them again.

Today I thought about posting a “Lost Connection” ad to see if I could learn the ending of this story. Post it where, though? Facebook? Reddit?

Or maybe somebody who knows the ending will Google “Amtrak” and “Connellsville” and find this blog.

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Midnight Train to Chicago

by Jenny 23 June 2017 Travel

  Jonathan and I went to Chicago for a week. Jonathan travelled to the Windy City for a work conference, and I tagged along for the tourist stuff. I was the most touristy tourist ever! I rode on the architecture river boat tour, 2 bus tours, and the brand-new giant ferris wheel at the Navy […]

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Lunch Break

by Jenny 14 June 2017 Western Pennsylvania

Some folks live – imagine that, actually LIVE! –  without seeing one sports championship parade. I saw four of them (so far) in Pittsburgh. Two Super Bowl parades, and two Stanley Cup parades. I saw all of them while at work. I work on the 22nd floor of a building two blocks from the parade […]

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How NOT to Build a Sandbox

by Jonathan 9 April 2017 House and Home

This weekend, I helped my Dad and Brother-in-Law Jack build a sandbox for my little nephew Andrew. My sister had found plans online at Lowes. I picked up the guys around 10AM Saturday and we headed for Lowes. While on the way, I asked my Dad to read off the list of stuff we were […]

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Here’s What’s Up

by Jenny 2 April 2017 Western Pennsylvania

My youngest sister, O.,  turned 18 on the first day of spring. I got to celebrate with O. and our sister E. at Phipps Conservatory. Last weekend, I went prom dress shopping with O. and our mom. (I have my new theories about prom dress shopping now.) And this weekend, I went home to see […]

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Lighthouses

by Jenny 2 April 2017 History

“A lighthouse will always survive the storm.” I found this written over a bunch of memes on Pinterest during a search for something else. Inspiring. Except – this isn’t actually true. I pasted above a photo of the Erie Land Light in Eria, PA. The third Erie Land Light.  The first two lighthouses at this spot […]

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S – Town (No Spoilers)

by Jenny 31 March 2017 Western Pennsylvania

I found out Sunday night that the creators of Serial and This American Life had a new podcast coming out, and that all seven episodes were to be released on Tuesday. So, on Tuesday I downloaded all seven episodes. I listened during my commute to and from work, and as I went about my day. […]

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Chance Encounters

by Jenny 30 March 2017 Western Pennsylvania

I hear from my loved ones that they keep up with me by reading what I post here. So, is some stuff about my work life in Pittsburgh. I took this photo from my office desk in downtown Pittsburgh last week, at about 6;30 or 7 in the morning. I usually take an early bus […]

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Colonial Stranger Danger

by Jenny 29 March 2017 History

I started kindergarten in the 1980’s. So – I learned about stranger danger before I learned not to eat my crayons. Now, I blogged about this young adult book from 1973 titled Hannah’s Town  by Helen Smith and George Swetnam. It’s about a little girl named Hannah who lives in colonial Westmoreland County in the […]

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