I have a Google News alert for the Haymarket Riot, and thus sometimes stumble upon interesting stuff, like this website devoted to a subject near to my heart: Chicago history.
Do you know where Hell’s Half-Acre was? How about the Hairtrigger Block? The Black Hole? Or Dead Man’s Corner. I didn’t either.
I didn’t, that is, until I started reading Todd Kendall’s Chicago Crime Scenes Project blog.
For the last two years, Kendall, an economist by trade, has been writing a blog that details the legendary individuals, spectacular incidents and infamous places that gave Chicago its reputation as a tough, tough town. The site is an incredible resource. There’s a nice mixture of shorter and longer posts, photographs and scans from old newspapers.
Your posts, generally speaking, deal with Chicago’s old, sordid underbelly. Mafias. Corrupt politicians. Crime and vice. Working-class and labor struggles. What made these sorts of topics compelling, the right lens for your blog?
Between 2003 and 2008, I was on the economics faculty at Clemson University in South Carolina, and my research focus was the nexus between crime, economics, and public policy. Chicago is the perfect place to study those connections. The Haymarket riot of 1886, activities in the Levee vice district during the 1910s, the Capone syndicate’s activities during Prohibition, and modern drug-selling gangs — all of these are fundamentally about economics. I’m not very interested in serial killers and other lunatics because there’s not much economics there.
[Click to continue reading Chicago Journal]
I’ve added the Chicago Crime Scenes Project to my RSS reader, and will probably link to some of its content when i have a moment. Fascinating stuff.