Welcome to DrGale.com and the Living History of Illinois and
I'm Neil Gale.
Author and Illinois Historian, I not only enjoy learning about our
state’s history, but I also enjoy presenting the stories and
photographs that make Illinois' history come alive. In my opinion,
the next evolution of a modern day historian is to interact with
history by allowing others to add to the richness of the article
presentations with additional facts, photographs, personal and
family experiences. This is where a Facebook group excels by
allowing feedback, comments, videos, photographs and images to be
added to the presentation, enriching the experience of all readers.
In October of 2012 I started a Facebook group and named it "Living History of
Illinois and Chicago®." People from around the world and from all walks of life have joined to
participate in this social history venue, forming one of the most
interesting educational and entertaining groups on Facebook. The group hosts
Junior and Senior
High School (6th-12th grades) history and social studies classes, with their educators,
for subject matter and lesson plans for teachers.
The resources below
help students with research and preparation for the Chicago Metro History Fair, the
Illinois Regional History Fairs all leading up to the state final competition on Illinois
History Day held in Springfield, Illinois each May.
Living History of Illinois and Chicago® Facebook Group The group is moderated and censored for the sake of our student body,
but all members enjoy the focus on Illinois history without
Internet trolls and people posting or commenting off-color
statements. We have a stringent set of published posting and
commenting policies to keep the groups focus on Illinois
history, and to remove members who don't follow rules or care about
other members. Our large membership boasts
high quality, robust researched posts
with lots of
pictures and member interactions.
Digital Research Library of Illinois History® The Digital Research Library of Illinois History® is sanctioned by
and linked from the official Chicago Metro History Fair website, the
Illinois History Day website and the Illinois Historic Preservation
Agency (IHPA) website as a resource for students, educators and the
general public. Special collections include defunct amusement parks
of Illinois, lost towns of Illinois, Chicago's forgotten
neighborhoods, and other surprises.
Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ "Saving Illinois History, One Story at a Time." Because of Facebook’s restrictions on each groups number of
posted images stored (approx. 5000 per group) the oldest ones are
deleted when new posts are made, I found it necessary to create a
way of ‘Saving Illinois History, One Story at a Time,’ so on
November 6, 2016, I started the Digital Research Library of Illinois
History Journal™. The Journal presents Illinois history in a
friendlier format than Facebook allows and has more functionality,
such as a search function that works properly, intermingled images
and text, and videos that are embedded and play on the page, just to
name a few. Being membership free, anybody online can add their
comments to the postings in the Journal.
The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition Reading Room™
The largest collection of 1893 World's Columbian Exposition
antique searchable PDF books, documents and research papers online.
Included are special attractions, special days at the Fair, and
13 amazing 3D rendered movie tours of the Fair.
Illinois History Store® I've personally created unique designs and recreated vintage
logo products printed on hundreds of products including dozens of styles of shirts and clothing
with lots of colors to choose from, mugs and drinkware, a variety of keychains, home
accessories and much more. 100% of all sales support the projects
listed herein for the costs of Internet hosting, URL fees, contest
prizes to intice Facebook group members to participate in an
elevated history presentation, and other associated fees. The
Illinois history store is not-for-profit.
Museum The Chicago Postcard Museum is a privately endowed, independent
organization devoted to collecting and presenting Chicago history
through postcard imagery and the correspondence sent to others. The
Museum displays a small portion of my personal collection of rare,
antique, vintage and contemporary Chicago postcards.
The Midway Plaisance at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in
one brief summer in the 1890s, it was the greatest attraction in
Chicago, in all America, in fact, more visited and talked about
than the world's fair it adjoined. Here, amidst Muslim mosques
and Chinese pagodas, European castles and South Sea island huts,
straw-hatted Americans came by the thousands to see Bedouin
warriors, Egyptian belly dancers, lions that rode horseback and
roller-skating bears. Over it all loomed the first giant Ferris
wheel, taller than all but one downtown Chicago skyscraper, but
only by a few feet.
I write about the Midway Plaisance from the entertainment
aspect, as it is considered the birth of amusement parks in
America. This was where Americans first "turned out for an
unrestrained good time." Here, the Victorian age of amusements
ended and our modern age began. For the next hundred years,
Chicago would help lead this revolution in American popular
culture–the revolution that created the modern amusement park–a
revolution that began here, on the Midway Plaisance, that summer
As a matter of fact, after the World's Fair closed on November
1, 1893 the Wheel's inventor, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.,
found a new site for the observation wheel on Chicago's North
Side, at 1288 North Clark Street in 1895.
Quite a few photographs of this amusement park are in this book.
Ferris wheel running at Ferris Wheel Park, Chicago. Auguste & Louis Lumière: Chicago 1896. "Grande Roue" (translation:
"Big Wheel") [NOTE:The speed of the Ferris wheel in this 53 second
film is accurate, as is the pace of people walking.]