"Red Eye" on Chicago Accent, Windy City, Chicago Hot Dogs
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Sep 30 03:00:04 UTC 2006
"Red Eye" is a free, condensed edition of the Chicago Tribune. A "Chicago
Greeter" now quotes my work (no credit, natch) as having found "Windy City" in
Cincinnati papers in the 1860s? Before Chicago had sports teams and the 1870s
Reds-Whites rivalry with Cincinnati?
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RedEye sets the record straight
on 13 local myths and mysteries
By _Kyra Kyles_ (mailto:kkyles at tribune.com)
Published September 27 2006
The Excalibur nightclub is a source of mystery for Dee Zrnich, 25.
"I saw this documentary on Excalibur, and I've been on this site called
_hauntedchicago.com_ (http://hauntedchicago.com/) ," the Jefferson Park resident
said of the club at 632 N. Dearborn St. "When I go there, I always want to
ask somebody if there are ghosts there, but when you're drinking, it's not a
But ghouls aren't the only local fascination. One South Sider's quest is to
find the building where media mogul Oprah Winfrey lives.
"I just keep wondering where it is," said Aleria Butler, 20. "She just is
such a big figure nationally."
Those mysteries are among the most popular for those who live in or are
visiting the city, history buffs said. About 10 years ago, locals were obsessed
with Chicago's mob history, but the new focus is on simple history, local
legends and pop culture trivia including: Did Mrs. O'Leary's cow really burn the
city to a crisp? What exactly is the Cubs' curse? Why does the Chicago
River run backward?
RedEye picked the brains of several local historians and sports experts to
uncover the truth behind popular traditions, myths and rumors blowing around
the Windy City.
What are the origins of the "Chi-caw-go" accent? Mayor Daley's pronunciation
of Chicago as "Chi-caw-go" illustrates the accent that outsiders attribute
to the city, said Russell Lewis, chief historian of the Chicago History Museum.
Chicago natives have a distinctive nasal accent that also can be found among
Michigan, Cleveland and western New York State residents, Lewis said.
"This may have been derived from heavy German, Polish and Eastern European
influences in the Great Lakes Region," Lewis said.
Why is Chicago called the Windy City?
There are two possible sources, according to Chicago greeter Jennifer Gordon.
"Some think that during the competition for the 1893 World Fair, which
Chicago won, that it came down to Chicago and New York," Gordon said. A New York
editor, tired of hearing Chicago politicians brag, dubbed Chicago a "Windy
City," full of politicians with a lot of hot air.
Another school of thought attributes the slogan to a Cincinnati journalist
in the 1860s who tired of Chicagoans bragging about their sports teams, Gordon
Why do we load our hot dogs with toppings—except ketchup?
Local culinary historian Bruce Kraig told RedEye in 2003 that dog-loading
can be traced to the 1920s, when local Italian and Greek hot dog stand vendors
tried to outdo each other with toppings. That's why a Chicago-style hot dog
is piled with German condiments of mustard, pickles and celery salt along with
Mediterranean-inspired tomatoes, hot peppers and relish.
So locals empty the entire vegetable garden on a hot dog but frown on adding
"Nobody knows for sure, but it may be that the relish is already sweet and
adding ketchup just makes it too darn sweet," Lewis said.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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