I'm Neil Gale.
an Illinois historian and author I enjoy presenting 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 the reader to add to the richness of the articles
topic with additional facts, photographs, and personal and
This is where I see social media, such as Facebook, excel. The
benefit of 'crowd sourcing' it
allows users to add to the overall presentation, enriching the
learning experience for
In October of 2012, I started a Facebook group called "Living
History of Illinois and Chicago." People throughout Illinois and
surrounding states have joined
the group to participate in this social educational venue. What makes
my group one of the most
interesting, educational, and entertaining on
Facebook are the common sense group policies, keeping the group on
topic and free of 'bad actors'.
The group hosts Junior and Senior High School (6th-12th
grades) history and social studies classes with their teachers and
use the subject matter for lesson plans, social studies and history, and in preparation for
Illinois' History Day and Chicago's Metro History Fair projects.
Living History of Illinois and Chicago® Facebook Group
The group is public, so anybody on Facebook can read our
posts. Only members are allowed to post and make comments. I have
instituted a stringent set of
commenting policies [PG-13] which are moderated and censored to maintain a
safe place for everybody to learn. Our large membership boasts high
quality, robust researched posts with lots of pictures and member
first published article on November 6, 2016,
Illinois history enthusiasts have visited the Digital
Research Library of Illinois History Journal™
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 automatically deleted when new posts are made, I found it necessary to
find a way of saving Illinois history. I began a blog and titled
it the "Digital Research Library of Illinois History
The Journal presents Illinois history in a
friendlier format than Facebook allows. It includes more functionality,
such as search functions that works properly, images with captions, and videos that are embedded and play
within the article. Being membership free, anybody online can add their
comments to any of the over 1,150 articles I've presented in the Journal
Digital Research Library of Illinois History®
The Digital Research Library of Illinois History began
as a resource for students, educators for 19th and 20th century
written book in PDF searchable format. The Digital Research
Library of Illinois History is a sanctioned resource for
Illinois History Day and Chicago Metro History Fair.
Today, the Library
gets thousands of visitors a month searching for Illinois
and Chicago topics. Our special collections department includes
over 140 defunct amusement parks of Illinois, lost towns of Illinois,
and Chicago's forgotten neighborhoods. Have a seat in one of our comfortable chairs, you'll be here
for a while, as I estimate there is well over a years worth of
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 details of special days and special attractions at the Fair, and,
not to be missed,
13 amazingly detailed and rendered, first person view [puts YOU at the fair] movie tours of the World's
Before you leave the Library, stop in
the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition Reading Room,
where we have the best super-collection of 1893 World's Fair
searchable (in PDF) antique books, documents and research papers
that you'll find on the Web.
Would you like to take a virtual 3D tour through 13 different
areas of the fair?
Living History of Illinois Gazette™
The FREE daily statewide newspaper. Headline delivered directly to your
inbox with the link to the newspaper's full edition. No
Illinois History Store®
I've personally created unique designs and recreated
vintage logo products and printe them on hundreds of products including
dozens of styles of shirts and clothing with lots of colors to
choose from. Lots of mug styles, glasses and drinkware, a variety of keychains, home
and office accessories and so much more. You'll get lost in all
the memories that flood your mind with the places, the tastes,
the sounds, etc.. You'll leave with a unique souvenir or two.
The Chicago Postcard
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 look at the Midway Plaisance from the entertainment
aspect. It's the birth of the American amusement park. This was where Americans first "turned out for an
unrestrained good time." Here, the Victorian age of amusements
ended and a new 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
After the World's Fair closed on November
1, 1893 the Wheel's inventor, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr.,
found a new site for his observation wheel in 1895.
"Ferris Wheel Park" was located on Chicago's North Side, at 1288
North Clark Street.
Read more about Ferris Wheel Park's
history in my book "The
Midway Plaisance at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago,"
presented with some rare photographs.
I've researched well over 80
defunct Illinois Amusement Parks and counting.