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Virtual Event

Virtual Social Studies Talk | From Fire to Phoenix City: Rebuilding Chicago’s Landscapes

Thursday, March 4

Beginning with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, tragic Chicago fires such as the 1903 Iroquois Theater Fire and the 1967 McCormick Place Fire have led to improvements for not just the city, but the nation.

Log on and join CHM assistant curator Julius L. Jones and author and architecture critic Lee Bey as they discuss how conflagrations have influenced Chicago’s built landscape. From crash bars on fire exits to doors that open out and the implementation of water sprinkler systems, learn how Chicago helped advance national standards in building codes, materials, and zoning.

This event is free of charge; we would greatly appreciate a donation to the Museum in any amount. Program runs about 1 hour; Zoom link provided after registration.



Lee Bey 

@LeeBey  @LeeBey

Lee Bey is a photographer, writer, and lecturer who documents and interprets the built environment—and the often complex political, social, and racial forces that shape spaces and places. A former Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic, he is also a senior lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and served as deputy chief of staff for urban planning under former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley. Bey’s photography has appeared in Chicago Architect, Old-House Journal, CITE, and in international design publications, including Bauwelt and Modulør. His writing on architecture and urban design has been featured in Architect, Chicago Magazine, Architectural Record, and many news outlets. Bey’s most recent publication is Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side (2019).


Julius L. Jones 

@JuliusLJones  @JuliusLJones

Julius L. Jones is an assistant curator at the Chicago History Museum. He is committed to using technology to tell new and inclusive stories about the past in compelling and innovative ways. Jones’s scholarly interests include twentieth-century US cultural and social history, particularly the meanings of aspiration among racial and ethnic minorities, with a focus on Chicago. He is currently curating the exhibition City on Fire: Chicago 1871, which opens in October 2021.

    Tagged in:

"Memories of the Chicago Fire of 1871" by Julia Lemos, 1912. CHM, ICHi-062293
Broadside regarding aid after the Great Chicago Fire, 1871. CHM, ICHi-020590
The ruined stage of the Iroquois Theater as seen from the balcony on January 4, 1904, after the fire on December 30, 1903, Chicago. DN-0001586
A group of men investigating the Iroquois Theater fire stand among the ruins inside the theater, Chicago, c. 1904. DN-0001943

The Details



4 th

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Event Location


Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories