Chicago’s Magnificent Mile / Fourth Presbyterian Church

You’ll find this beautiful and historic church among the towering skyscrapers on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago Illinois. The Fourth Presbyterian Church, Fourth Church, as it’s commonly referred to by congregants, has become a destination for churchgoers around the Chicago area. The church’s beautiful glow at night adds immeasurable beauty to Chicago’s downtown area.

fourth church chicago

Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago Illinois

A Church on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

Fourth Presbyterian Church was built in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The church sits in the middle of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district and provides an oasis from the noise of the street. The church is noted for it’s presenting a range of musical events. Fourteen life-size statues of musicians grace the interior, setting the stage for the church’s organ and noonday concerts and for its series of jazz, classical and chamber music.

Two Churches Merge

A Gothic Revival edifice, Fourth Presbyterian Church sits smack in the middle of the Magnificent Mile shopping district, providing a peaceful retreat from the hubbub of the street and presenting a range of musical events. Fourteen life-size statues of musicians grace the interior, setting the stage for the church’s organ and noonday concerts and for its series of jazz, classical and chamber music.

In 1871 two churches merged to form Fourth Presbyterian Church. The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago was founded in February 1871 when the congregations of Westminster Presbyterian Church and North Presbyterian Church merged. Timing however was not optimal. On October 8 of 1871, the great Chicago fire destroyed Fourth Church’s first worship site the very same night the congregation dedicated it’s new home.

fourth presbyterian church chicago

Interior of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago

During February 1874, the congregation dedicated its new facility on the northwest corner of Rush and Superior Streets. After 40 years at this location, the growing congregation and its many programs called again for a new larger church.

The new congregation worshiped at Superior and Rush for the next forty years from 1874 until 1914. It was then time again to move. The church purchased a plot of land three blocks north, on what would later become Michigan Avenue, and the cornerstone for a new place of worship was laid on September 17, 1912. This new location would eventually become North Michigan Avenue’s ” Magnificent Mile.” When the Michigan Avenue Bridge opened over the Chicago River in 1920 the neighborhood essentially grew up all around the church. Fourth Presbyterian Church is now the oldest surviving structure on Michigan Avenue north of the river

An interesting side note is that the name “Fourth” was chosen not because it was the fourth Presbyterian church to be founded in Chicago. There were several founded before it. North Presbyterian Church is one of the earliest. “Fourth was chosen  because “Fourth” was the lowest number then not in use.

gothic revival architecture

Beautiful Gothic Revival architecture

A Unique Church in the Heart of a City

Fourth Presbyterian Church became the home to influential pastors and wealthy  congregants. Fourth Presbyterian earned both a well deserved civic and national reputation befitting its beautiful Gothic architecture.

Called “a social settlement with a spire,” the church reached out to the poor in the nearby “Little Hell” neighborhood. Fourth Presbyterian helped create the Presbyterian Hospital in 1884, and it was the catalyst for the founding of sister churches in the city’s heavy immigrant areas. The church also became much involved with social activism.  In 1979 Fourth Presbyterian helped to create Atrium Village, an innovative mixed-income housing development.

The Sanctuary Organ

The current Sanctuary organ is a 1971 Aeolian-Skinner Organ, Opus 1516, with 126 ranks, numbering 6,603 pipes. It is the second largest instrument in the city (second only to the organ at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel) and one of largest in the Midwest. Some of the existing pipe work dates back to 1914 when Ernest M. Skinner was contracted to build the first pipe organ. That organ contained 59 ranks. Among them was a stop invented by Skinner called the Kleine Erzäehler, which means little storytellers, a stop of which he was most proud.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

The Palace Steamers of the Great Lakes

Lake Michigan and the Carl D. Bradley Sinking

Concerts and Art

Free noonday concerts take place at Fourth Presbyterian Churchin the Sanctuary or Buchanan Chapel (except when otherwise noted) from September through June and outdoors in the courtyard off Michigan Avenue, by the fountain, in July and August.

Weekday evening and Sunday afternoon concerts are also offered occasionally  throughout the year.

When your travels take you to the downtown Chicago area make it a point to stop by this magnificent and unique church. Fourth Presbyterian Church is a must see during your tour of downtown Chicago. The church is located at 126 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

Visit An Historic Downtown Dallas Texas Museum

The Old Red Museum is a treat to visit and is a fine addition to your Dallas Texas trip planner. The Old red Museum is located in downtown Dallas Texas. The museum is  located in a very historic and renovated building that was built in 1892. It’s remarkable that this 19th century structure served as the Dallas County Courthouse until 1966.

old red museum dallas texas

The Old Red Museum

Today, The Old Red Museum is an excellent venue to learn how this city grew from one man’s 1841 settlement to a major metropolitan area of the twenty-first century. The museum is filled with artifacts, stories and photos about early Dallas and all the way to the present.

The Old Red Museum

The building was constructed of red sandstone in a Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. The building was known locally as the Old Red Courthouse located at the southwest corner of Commerce and Houston Streets. This 19th century building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Old Red Museum is on the first floor of the Old Red Courthouse and exhibits the evolution of Dallas. Four permanent exhibits detail the history of Dallas Texas. These four galleries feature 41 interactive touch-screen kiosks making this venue one of the most interactive ones you’ll ever have the opportunity to visit.

old dallas county courthouse

Clock Tower on the Old Dallas County Courthouse

The Children’s Education Center within the museum offers a hands on and interactive experience for kids. Kids can create their own stained glass window and they can , uncover historical features using architecture rubbings. This allows them to find out architectural details that make Dallas buildings very unique. The museum also rotates a series of special exhibits that celebrate unique aspects of Dallas art and history.

This 1892 old Red Courthouse features some of Dallas and Dallas County’s most fascinating historical artifacts. The Old Red Museum also hosts special events. For more information about exhibits and what’s happening at the museum see their Facebook Page at the link below…

The Old red Museum

Dallas Founded During The Days of the Republic of Texas

Dallas Texas was founded in 1841, about five years after the Republic of Texas was founded.

John Neely Bryan from Arkansas built a log cabin in 1841 near a river and called the settlement Dallas. The river is what today is the Trinity floodplain and had existing trails made by the Native American Caddo tribe. The site on the Trinity River where Bryan established his outpost was known as the White Rock Crossing. The crossing was considered easy for wagons before ferry service and bridges were erected.

unique old dallas architecture

Unique architecture of the 1892 building

Bryan’s log cabin would become a trading post. Like some other early settlement, one person might serve several functions. John Bryan served in three capacities. Bryan served as Dallas’ first postmaster, a general store owner and a ferry boat operator. Three years after the founding of this settlement a plan was laid out establishing city blocks that would one day become modern downtown Dallas Texas. Again, this all occurred at the time of the Republic of Texas which would shortly be annexed by the United States in 1845 at the time of the Mexican-American War. Dallas would be incorporated six years later in 1851.

See the Trips Into History articles on the links below…

A Visit to Historic Fredericksburg Texas

Touring The Texas Hill Country

How Dallas Got it’s Name

The story of how Dallas was named Dallas has a few versions.

One version has it named from a naming contest in 1842. A second version says that it may have been named after an 1842 settler named Joseph Dallas. Another is that it was named after a friend of John Neely Bryan. A fourth version has the settlement named after a naval Commodore and yet another version says that it was named after a U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. It has never been concluded exactly which is the official or real version however any of the above versions is possible.

dealey plaza dallas texas

Looking north to Dealey Plaza and the old Texas schoolbook depository Building. Now the site of the Sixth Floor Museum

Visiting The Old Red Museum

The Old Red Museum is located in the heart of downtown Dallas Texas. It is available for both individual and group tours and is currently open 9A-5P daily.

Because The Old Red Museum is located in the heart of Dallas, there’s several other interesting sites to see nearby.  The museum is adjacent to the JFK Memorial and Dealey Plaza, a National Historic Landmark District. It is also across the street from a replica of Dallas founder John Neely Bryan’s cabin and just a block south of The Sixth Floor Museum and the historic West End of Dallas. All of these sites are in easy walking distance to the others and offer excellent photo opportunities.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

A Tour of the Historic Texas Capitol Building

When in Austin Texas, a tour of the state’s beautiful and historic capitol building is both a fun and historically unique outing.

Texas State Capitol Building

The Texas State Capitol built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The capitol building is the largest state capitol by square footage in the entire country. It is also taller than the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. XIT Ranch and the Texas State Capitol The first thing to know about the Texas State Capitol Building is that it was built entirely from ranching funds and that the funds were made possible by the creation of the famous XIT Ranch. At one time the XIT ranch was the world’s largestunder fence and covered a part of ten counties.

Interior top of the Texas State Capitol Dome

Located in downtown Austin Texas and just south of the University of Texas campus, the state capitol was completed in 1886 and was financed  by 3,000,000 acres of public lands in the Texas Panhandle.This new capitol building replaced the previous one built in 1853 that was destroyed by fire. This structure would represent the fourth building housing Texas government. Another impressive historic structure nearby is the Driskill Hotel. Located at 604 Brazos Street, the Driskill Hotel was built in 1886 by cattleman Jesse Driskilland was frequently used by state legislators while the Texas State Capitol Building was being constructed several blocks to the north.

View from the middle of the rotunda

Building the Texas State Capitol There was a competition for plans and designs of the new capitol building which was won by a man named Elijah E. Meyers of Detroit Michigan. Myers also has to is credit the design of the Colorado State Capitol Building. After agreeing on the plans and design, the state legislature then searched for a contractor who would agree to build the massive 360,000 square foot structure in exchange for 3 million acres of land in Texas. An Illinois firm was chosen as the general contractor who in turn farmed out potions to other Illinois contractors. The sunset red granitemaking up the exterior walls was quarried from a site only fifty miles from Austin near Marble Falls Texas.  Granite cutters were actually brought in from Scotland for their expertise.

Restored gun used during Texas Revolution and Civil War at entrance to Texas State Capitol Building

Texas State capitol Grounds The grounds surrounding the Texas State Capitol comprise 22 acres. Here you can view several very unique monuments, the first installed in 1891. This first monument was in honer of the Heroes of the Alamo. In all there are seventeen monuments that surround the capitol building. Among other monuments on the capitol grounds are the Confederate Soldiers, Terry’s Texas Rangers and Volunteer Fireman and the Tejano Monument. The Tejano Monument is comprised of 11 life size bronze statues crafted by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa commemorating the contributions of Texas’ Spanish and Mexican settlers. Another interesting statue found on the Texas State Capitol grounds is a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This statue was created in 1952 Also on the Texas State Capitol grounds are native Texas trees, historic markers and cannons. There are a total of twenty-five tree species found on the capitol grounds. The Trail of Trees takes about one hour to cover. For a brochure detailing this trail on the Texas capitol grounds see website Below are links to additional Trips Into History articles you may enjoy… Touring the Texas Hill Country The Confederate Navy

Monument on grounds of Texas State Capitol

Interesting Facts About the Texas State Capitol Building When the state capitol was completed after four years of construction in 1886 it co

A Visit to F. Scott Fitzgerald in Historic St. Paul

Trips Into History had the opportunity to visit the St. Paul Academy in St. Paul Minnesota, well known as being a school attended by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a famous American writer of short stories and novels.

st paul academy minnesota

St. Paul Academy

In all, Fitzgerald finished four novels. These included This Side of paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Great Gatsby. His fifth novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon was published after his death in 1940.

Today’s generation might recognize several of Fitzgerald’s works as they have been made into popular films.

Visiting St. Paul Academy and Historic Summit Hill

The St. Paul Academy is an interesting stop to make if your travels take you to the Minneapolis / St. Paul area.

In addition to visiting the school where Fitzgerald attended, you may be able to take a unique walking tour which includes the house where he was born (481 Laurel Ave.) in 1896 and the site where he wrote his first novel. Fitzgerald was born at this address in a third floor apartment. On this tour you’ll also be able to take in Summit Avenue which dates back to the 1850’s with it’s historic houses and churches. Summit Avenue is both a National Historic District and a City of St. Paul Heritage Preservation District.

f scott fitzgerald school

St. Paul Academy site

For more information regarding tours of St. Paul’s historic Summit Avenue you may want to visit the website

The James J. Hill House is located at 240 Summit Avenue and was the home of James J. Hill, founder of the Great Northern Railway.

F. Scott Fitzgerald of St. Paul Minnesota

F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose formal name was F. Scott Key Fitzgerald, attended St. Paul Academy from 1908 to 1911 after his father had moved from Buffalo New York to St. Paul Minnesota. Fitzgerald’s father tried manufacturing wicker furniture in upstate New York without success. He did find a job as a salesman for Proctor and Gamble in Minnesota and this necessitated the family’s move to St. Paul.

Interestingly enough, Fitzgerald’s first published writing came at the age of thirteen when he wrote a detective story for the St. Paul Academy newspaper. His stay in St. Paul at this early period of his life was short. Fitzgerald was actually expelled from St. paul Academy in 1911 for what was said poor grades. Aside from his writing, the future author apparently didn’t give the effort required for the rest of his studies.

st paul academy st paul minnesota

St. Paul Academy entrance

The family moved to New Jersey in 1913 where the young Fitzgerald attended the Newman School from 1911 to 1913 and then it was Princeton University from 1913 to 1917. F. Scott Fitzgerald ended up dropping out of Princeton and joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.

Writing Style of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Many claim that F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of America’s greatest writers. Describing the writing style of F. Scott Fitzgerald includes many elements. It certainly cannot be described in one word. You have to consider the time period of which his writings took place. Some may consider his work of “drawing room” style. His sentences tended to be complex. This would be different from Hemingway’s more down to earth writing. Some might call Fitzgerald’s writing a bit pompous and at times judgmental. His characters were not always heroes.

The decade of the 1920’s was especially influential to Fitzgerald. You can readily see this in The Great Gatsby which was published in 1925. This was one of his shorter stories. Three of his works were published during the 1920’s. During this period he also built a relationship with Ernest Hemingway.

f scott fitzgerald saturday evening post

F. Scott Fitzgerald on Saturday Evening Post

Fitzgerald used class differences in his writings. The difference between the lives of the high social class as opposed to that of the poor. You certainly see this same theme in later writings such as The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

F. Scott Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940 of a heart attack in Hollywood California.

You may also enjoy two articles on our Western Trips site on the links below…

The John Steinbeck Center in Salinas CA

Jack London State Historic Park

For those wanting more insight into the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I have to mention an ebook publication entitled Who Was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy? The character Daisy was the leading lady in The Great Gatsby. In this book local author Andrea Olmstead identifies the real life woman and her relationship with Fitzgerald. Olmstead explains how this woman influenced characters in This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History. Saturday Evening Post image is from the public domain)

Historic Texas Hotel / Luxury and Celebrities


Not far south of Dallas Texas, in the town of Waxahachie, the old Rogers Hotel was at one time the place to see the celebrities. It was a gem of a hotel in a small town south of Dallas with a very colorful past. Today the Rogers Hotel is alive and well and is a center for entertainment and shopping. The Rogers Hotel now offers posh shopping, dining and office space and this historic hotel also offers a limited number of rooms for guests.

rogers hotel waxahachie

The Rogers Hotel, Waxahachie Texas

A Luxury Hotel

The Rogers Hotel, built in 1912, served as the residence for professional baseball players as well as such famous celebrities as Frank Sinatra.

It was also said that Bonnie and Clyde were also seen at the Rogers Hotel. This old hotel in Waxahachie TX was also used for scenes in the 1983 movie, Places in the Heart. Music videos have also been shot on the hotel premises.

The Rogers Hotel, which sits across the street from the county courthouse at College Street and Main, was named in honor of Emory W Rogers, the founder of Waxahachie Texas. Rogers originally built his log cabin on this very site in 1846. In October of 1849, Rogers received a grant of 640 acres along the north fork of the Waxahachie Creek to establish the seat of the newly created Ellis County.

ellis county texas courthouse

Courthouse on the Waxahachie Square

The first Rogers Hotel was built on the site in 1856 but was later destroyed by fire.

Among the new 1912 hotel’s amenities included a rooftop garden and a basement natatorium. The basement also featured a barber shop and billiards room.

During some of the Texas hot summer nights cots were placed for guests on the roof top. This was luxury during the early 1900’s.


A Home for Major League Baseball

Major league baseball teams often resided at the hotel during spring training. These included the Detroit Tigers during 1916-1917, the Cincinnati Reds in 1919 and the Chicago White Sox in 1921. This was during the period before many teams conducted spring their training in various Florida towns and cities. This was the hotel that baseball fans could run into Ty Cobb and other ballplayers.

Like many old historic hotels, the Rogers Hotel was closed for a long time. Decades passed before the hotel came to life again. If you’re wondering if the storied hotel is haunted, the answer from many people is yes.

baseball player ty cobb

Ty Cobb, left, and Joe Jackson

Rogers Hotel Hauntings

The haunted hotel story that has gone around centers around the new owner searching for his maintenance man. After finally locating the man in his locked room, the maintenance man refused to come out.

Apparently the maintenance man received a knock on his door the previous night. This in itself was somewhat odd since the hotel was being renovated. Nobody else was expected to be on the premises during the night hours. When he opened the door a man was standing there in attire of another era. The man asked the maintenance man to follow him into the basement where the natatorium was. The mysterious man mentioned that bad things happened there and then simply vanished in front of his eyes. The maintenance man bolted back up to his room and locked the door behind him. The next day he quit his job and fled never to work at the Rogers Hotel again.

Below are links to several additional Trips Into History photo articles you’ll find interesting.

Ghosts in Hotels

Historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas NM

On our Western Trips site you’ll enjoy the article about the historic Palace Hotel in Silver City New Mexico.

Silver City’s Palace Hotel

waxahachie tx rogers hotel

Today’s Rogers Hotel Barber Shop

Over the next several months the owner heard of stories from some of his cleaning help. Stories of strange things happening in front of their eyes. Things like footsteps and voices.

One of these employees also decided to quite her job. Strange happenings were also reported by Rogers Hotel guests.

One female hotel guest reported that she saw a man dressed in cowboy attire standing at the foot of her bed.

A hotel night clerk reported the elevator going up to the fourth floor (many of the strange occurrences happened on this floor) and return to the lobby with nobody inside. This was particularly strange since no guests were checked in on the fourth floor. There are additional stories like this as well.

texas historical museums

Ellis County Museum on the Waxahachie Town Square

Visiting Waxahachie Texas

Waxahachie TX is located about 30 miles south of Dallas along Interstate-35.

It is also about 65 miles north of Waco TX. For more information about the Rogers Hotel in Waxahachie Tx see website

Waxahachie is the county seat of Ellis County Texas which was formed in 1849 from land from Navarro and Robertson Counties. The county is named in honor of Richard Ellis who was president of the 1836 convention that produced the Texas Declaration of Independence. The Ellis County Courthouse shown in this article was built in 1895. The courthouse was built a bit differently than many of the other Texas courthouses. In has more of an open plan with an open space in the center of the building. The large second floor courtroom was built to one side. This was different than most of the courthouses built with intersecting halls. The architectural plans for the building were created by J. Riely Gordon.

It’s said that the Ellis County Courthouse is among the most visited of all the historic Texas courthouses.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Trips Into History. Ty Cobb / Joe Jackson photo from the public domain)