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4.21 | Lager Beer Riot

While there may be a curfew on liquor sales now, history has taught us not to get between Chicago and its booze. On this day in 1855, the Lager Beer Riot ensued after mayor Levi Boone renewed enforcement of an old local ordinance mandating that taverns be closed on Sundays, which was seen as targeting German and Irish residents who worked a six-day week. Despite the ordinance, tavern owners continued to sell beer, resulting in 60 arrests. Saloon keepers united, mobilized, resisted, and restored the right to drink on Sundays. Learn more.

Two arms holding glass steins of beer in a toast, Chicago, c. 1935. DN-0102907, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM

The Encyclopedia of Chicago

The Encyclopedia of Chicago is no mere collection of fun facts. It is a work of stunning scholarly achievement.” —Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times

Published by the University of Chicago Press, The Encyclopedia of Chicago is the result of a ten-year collaboration between the Newberry Library and the Chicago History Museum. This project brought together hundreds of historians, journalists, and experts on everything from airlines to Zoroastrians to explore all aspects of the rich world of Chicago and its surrounding metropolitan area. Explore the Encyclopedia.


The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. Established in 1856, the Museum is now at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, its third location. As a major museum and research center for Chicago and U.S. history, the Chicago History Museum strives to be a destination for learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming, the Museum connects people to Chicago’s history and to each other. To share Chicago stories, the Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents, images and other items that are relevant to the city’s history. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. 

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories