"Because you were born into this particular era does not mean it has to be the limit of your experience. Move about in time, go places." -- David McCullough
Jazz Age Chicago: Scott Newman's website is undoubtedly the best starting point for research. Visit Chicago History Research Links and the Chicago History Research Guide.
Down the Drain: Chicago’s Sewers - The Historic Development of an Urban Infrastructure Developed through a partnership of the Chicago Department of Sewers (now Chicago Department of Water Management) and the Chicago Public Library.
Beneath our feet lies a vast labyrinth of pipes and tunnels. These passageways, the sewer system, are central to the health of our community. Today most Chicagoans take the existence of the sewer system for granted. Yet for most of the City's first seven decades the defining struggle for Chicago's continued existence was not the Great Fire of 1871, but its battle with sewage. In the process, streets were raised; channels were dug; an industrial empire launched; tunnels bored miles beneath Lake Michigan; and new technologies invented.
In 1900, Chicago took the astonishing step of reversing the Chicago River, making it the first river to flow away from its mouth. The feat was called one of the seven engineering marvels of the world. In 1922, the flow of a second river, the Calumet, would also be reversed.
To the present day Chicago remains a leader in the technology of urban infrastructure, just beneath our feet and down the drain.
UIC's Chicago Imagebase: A vast collection of images and maps of Chicago's past.
American Cultural History from Kingswood College: A decade by decade overview of the 19th century. Yes, there was life outside of Chicago.
Chicago Magazine's February issue includes an article titled "Nothing But Net: 171 Great Chicago Web Sites" and includes a section on Chicago history. As of today the article is not yet posted on the web (can you say irony?), but there is a note that the story will be coming soon so check back.
Photo: Clark Street Facing Court House-Grand Opera House
From: Artistic Guide to Chicago and the World Columbian Exposition