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Ken Burns brought The Tenth Inning to Chicago

Ken Burns

We held two events on
Thursday, August 19:

More than 400 guests joined us for a Tenth Inning luncheon screening at the Union League Club, one of Chicago’s most venerable institutions. Ken addressed the group and concluded with Q & A and book signing session.

After Ken conducted several media interviews during the afternoon, about 900 WTTW members, viewers and members of the general public gathered at the Bank of America Theatre for a screening of Chicago-specific Tenth Inning clips and Q & A with Ken.

Ken Burns

Ken Burns

Ken Burns

Peddling along at 10 miles an hour you see things that you might not notice from a car: An aging South Side 'L' station that was used by visitors to the 1893 World's Fair. Hebrew lettering above a door, revealing that a West Side neighborhood was once predominantly Jewish. Or the magical landscaping of an historic park, that likely inspired a young L. Frank Baum as he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

These are just a few of the discoveries that host Geoffrey Baer uncovers as he guides WTTW11 viewers on a TV tour of Chicago's boulevards.

The boulevards are the broad, tree-shaded streets that form a magnificent, twenty-eight-mile-long circle around the city. These thoroughfares carry viewers away from the popular attractions along the lakefront, to the lesser-known parks and often-overlooked neighborhoods at the heart of the city's South, West, and North Sides.

Along the way, we learn the relatively unknown story behind this boulevard system – the first such system in the country – imagined in the 1860s as a way to link the city's green spaces. And we see how these boulevards are undergoing a renaissance amidst the growing interest in environmentally-friendly urban planning and design.

We also explore the rich history of bicycling in Chicago – from the fashionable cycling clubs that were all of the rage among 19th Century Chicagoans, to the more recent push to make this the most bike-friendly city in America.

Photo credits: Chicago History Museum, Nathaniel Kaelin, Bill Richert