Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

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5.0 | 21 reviews

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ABOUT THIS EVENT
Event Category

Education

Event Overview

From today's convict governors back to the shady 19th-century land deals that turned mud into metropolis, Chicago has a centuries-old tradition of graft, kickbacks and corruption.


Former newspaper reporter Paul Dailing pulls the curtain back on these hidden stories through the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour, a look at the darker side of politics.

The tour will be in two parts, with the Chicago Way Package ($25) covering about a mile, ending at the State Street Bridge.

You'll learn:

- How a land scam built the Midwest
- How early 1900s aldermen bought votes with free beer
- Why an undercover FBI operation targeted judges
- About jailbird governors, gangster aldermen, patronage, gerrymandering and more!

Those who choose the Bleepin' Golden Package ($35 total, or an extra $10 the day of the tour if you want to continue) will keep going to the Chicago Brown Line stop, for a total 2.25 miles.

You'll learn:


- How a king-hating mayor distracted from Al Capone
- How a program meant for low-income neighborhoods uses school money for mayoral pet projects
- Why a newspaper bought a seedy bar
- About lakefront land grabs, parking meters shenanigans, hired trucks, a fish that could climb a tree and more!

Half the tour gratuities will go to help the non-profit investigative group ProPublica set up a new Illinois office. As you’ll learn on this tour, Chicago needs all the watchdogs it can get.

Check out the coverage on Marketplace!

Plugged in Chicagoist

Featured on NBC Channel 5

For those that can't find 427 S. Clark, the starting address is across the street from 426 S. Clark, 60605

What to Bring

The 3 Ws: Walking shoes, water bottles and weather-appropriate clothes.

What's Provided

There will be a handout to keep at the end.

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MORE ABOUT YOUR HOST

Paul Dailing

Top rated icon TOP RATED

Former newspaper reporter, former journalism professor and former Chicago River docent Paul Dailing has combined all three formers into the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour, a look at the vanished stories people in power tried very hard to make sure we never knew.

Dailing's blog, 1,001 Chicago Afternoons (1001chicago.com), has won a Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism from the Chicago Headline Club. Legendary Chicago newsman Rick Kogan described the blog as "delightful and artful."

Dailing co-hosts the "Welcome to the Neighborhood" reading series, bringing together artists and storytellers from underrepresented communities for what the Chicago Tribune called "a living graphic novel." His own writing is currently featured in the Chicago History Museum's ongoing "Chicago Authored" exhibit, running through 2017.

STUDENT REVIEWS

  • Thumb headshot copy
    Margaret T.
    Reviewed on 10/02/17

    It's a tour about corruption, yes. But somehow it doesn't leave you feeling all discouraged about Chicago politics. Rather, it leaves you with an appreciation for the nuance of the way things work and a hopefulness that they might continue getting better.

    It's a tour about corruption, yes. But somehow it doesn't leave you feeling all discouraged about Chicago politics. Rather, it leaves you with an appreciation for the nuance of the way things work and a hopefulness that they might continue getting better.

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    Greg E.
    Reviewed on 10/02/17

    This is an excellent tour for anyone that has an interest in the political history of Chicago. Paul is an wonderful, passionate, and informative tour guide and I cannot recommend this tour enough.

    This is an excellent tour for anyone that has an interest in the political history of Chicago. Paul is an wonderful, passionate, and informative tour guide and I cannot recommend this tour enough.

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    Patricia S.
    Reviewed on 10/01/17

    Very cool and interesting tour, I recommend the first two hours. I would love to see a comparison of corruption in other states. All of these people should be in jail. Great Chicago history two!!

    Very cool and interesting tour, I recommend the first two hours. I would love to see a comparison of corruption in other states. All of these people should be in jail. Great Chicago history two!!

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    Liz M.
    Reviewed on 09/04/17

    Very interesting tour, corruption knows no bounds in Chicago! Saw a lot of the city and all was entertaining. Did think we walked much farther than the anticipated 2.5 miles which was fine with me but others might need to take transportation back to tour's start since its definitely not a loop. Would recommend this Tour because it's not like others in the city.

    Very interesting tour, corruption knows no bounds in Chicago! Saw a lot of the city and all was entertaining. Did think we walked much farther than the anticipated 2.5 miles which was fine with me but others might need to take transportation back to tour's start since its definitely not a loop. Would recommend this Tour because it's not like others in the city.

  • Default user photo
    Joe C.
    Reviewed on 08/07/17

    Paul was a fantastic teacher. We were able to go over in detail many scandals that I've never heard about. Some of the parallels of yesterday's politicians to today's are embarrassingly accurate. This was very informative, and it's sparked me to be more active in my community and sensitive to what is going on.

    Paul was a fantastic teacher. We were able to go over in detail many scandals that I've never heard about. Some of the parallels of yesterday's politicians to today's are embarrassingly accurate. This was very informative, and it's sparked me to be more active in my community and sensitive to what is going on.

  • Default user photo
    Bobbi Z.
    Reviewed on 06/04/17

    Paul really knows this material and even more, tells the stories in a way that makes even hundred-year-old corruption relevant to what's happening today. I'd lived through much of what he described but still learned a lot. Great use of visual aids as well. He's a journalist and nails the facts while making you care about taking action, whether it's supporting the BGA and newspapers or joining a protest. Great afternoon!!!

    Paul really knows this material and even more, tells the stories in a way that makes even hundred-year-old corruption relevant to what's happening today. I'd lived through much of what he described but still learned a lot. Great use of visual aids as well. He's a journalist and nails the facts while making you care about taking action, whether it's supporting the BGA and newspapers or joining a protest. Great afternoon!!!

  • Default user photo
    Mike D.
    Reviewed on 05/23/17

    Paul took us on a private 3 hour tour. Everyone in the group loved the tour and had great things to say about the route, interesting facts and stories Paul told, and his ability to answer our questions throughout the day. Would definitely recommend to someone interested in Chicago history and politics.

    Paul took us on a private 3 hour tour. Everyone in the group loved the tour and had great things to say about the route, interesting facts and stories Paul told, and his ability to answer our questions throughout the day. Would definitely recommend to someone interested in Chicago history and politics.

  • Default user photo
    Mary W.
    Reviewed on 12/11/16

    This tour was amazing! The corruption covered ran the gamut and I will never look at some of the areas I pass everyday in the same way.

    This tour was amazing! The corruption covered ran the gamut and I will never look at some of the areas I pass everyday in the same way.

  • Default user photo
    Taylor B.
    Reviewed on 09/18/16

    This tour is great! Paul's sense of humor and impressive knowledge of local corruption history made the tour fly by. He was entertaining, kept his cool even when a passerby confronted us and was happy to answer questions. The refreshing tour includes visual aids and he gives a hilarious adult worksheet at the end. Highly recommend for anyone at least slightly interested in history and/or politics.

    This tour is great! Paul's sense of humor and impressive knowledge of local corruption history made the tour fly by. He was entertaining, kept his cool even when a passerby confronted us and was happy to answer questions. The refreshing tour includes visual aids and he gives a hilarious adult worksheet at the end. Highly recommend for anyone at least slightly interested in history and/or politics.

  • Default user photo
    Kate M.
    Reviewed on 08/29/16

    We had a great afternoon with Paul guiding us through the city, pausing to give us fascinating stories of corruption old and not so old, and ongoing as we went. I highly recommend visitors to this tour, but perhaps even more, I recommend those of us who live in Chicago take it and not only be entertained, but be inspired to open our eyes.

    We had a great afternoon with Paul guiding us through the city, pausing to give us fascinating stories of corruption old and not so old, and ongoing as we went. I highly recommend visitors to this tour, but perhaps even more, I recommend those of us who live in Chicago take it and not only be entertained, but be inspired to open our eyes.

  • Default user photo
    Erin D.
    Reviewed on 08/22/16

    Loved it. You could tell Paul knew his stuff. Everything was very interesting and very informative. I'd definitely recommend.

    Loved it. You could tell Paul knew his stuff. Everything was very interesting and very informative. I'd definitely recommend.

  • Default user photo
    C B.
    Reviewed on 08/08/16

    This was incredibly informative and a lot of fun. Paul is a really knowledgable guide who knew so much about the teeming cesspool of Chicago's political history. The 90-minute plus tour was a blast and Paul's history as a Chicago journalist provided a lot of in-depth information about my city's history of graft.

    This was incredibly informative and a lot of fun. Paul is a really knowledgable guide who knew so much about the teeming cesspool of Chicago's political history. The 90-minute plus tour was a blast and Paul's history as a Chicago journalist provided a lot of in-depth information about my city's history of graft.

  • Default user photo
    Peter S.
    Reviewed on 06/27/16

    Very interesting history provided. Nice to hear the stories at the sites of their occurrences.

    Very interesting history provided. Nice to hear the stories at the sites of their occurrences.

  • Default user photo
    Cynthia B.
    Reviewed on 06/06/16

    This walking tour was a lot of fun. I took the extended tour which brought us all over downtown Chicago. The tour guide was Paul and he is extremely knowledgeable about the topic. But he wasn't dry or unapproachable. He presented all the facts in a very relaxed and funny way so it was almost like hearing juicy gossip and not boring history. (I they taught history like that in high school kids would be much better in history.) I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys taking tours of Chicago like the river tours and wants something a little different. But, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

    This walking tour was a lot of fun. I took the extended tour which brought us all over downtown Chicago. The tour guide was Paul and he is extremely knowledgeable about the topic. But he wasn't dry or unapproachable. He presented all the facts in a very relaxed and funny way so it was almost like hearing juicy gossip and not boring history. (I they taught history like that in high school kids would be much better in history.) I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys taking tours of Chicago like the river tours and wants something a little different. But, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

  • Default user photo
    Vladimir B.
    Reviewed on 06/06/16

    A well organized and eye opening tour. Showcases local and state corruption from before Chicago was a city to on-going gerrymandering of voting districts. Tour was well researched and adds real depth to famous and not so famous cases. Well done.

    A well organized and eye opening tour. Showcases local and state corruption from before Chicago was a city to on-going gerrymandering of voting districts. Tour was well researched and adds real depth to famous and not so famous cases. Well done.

  • Default user photo
    Kari M.
    Reviewed on 06/06/16

    Paul was detailed and smart. This was was an entirely different take on our city...centuries of corruption revealed. So interesting!

    Paul was detailed and smart. This was was an entirely different take on our city...centuries of corruption revealed. So interesting!

  • Default user photo
    Alex E.
    Reviewed on 05/25/16

    Paul is great! Highlights of the tour included:

    -How he presented the thought-provoking issue of somebody being a good person vs doing good for the city/Illinois (Patrick Fitzgerald, for example)
    -How he presents his opinion alongside the facts of the stories
    -How well-prepared Paul is for the tour. His use of primary sources is delightful.

    Paul is great! Highlights of the tour included:

    -How he presented the thought-provoking issue of somebody being a good person vs doing good for the city/Illinois (Patrick Fitzgerald, for example)
    -How he presents his opinion alongside the facts of the stories
    -How well-prepared Paul is for the tour. His use of primary sources is delightful.

  • Default user photo
    Dina F.
    Reviewed on 05/23/16

    paul was very engaged with the group throughout the tour. very interesting and well organized content. i highly recommend!

    paul was very engaged with the group throughout the tour. very interesting and well organized content. i highly recommend!

  • Default user photo
    Sean G.
    Reviewed on 05/04/16

    Smart, funny and informative. I have lived in Chicago for a long time, and I thought I was well versed in the city's corruption... I was wrong. Paul is an excellent guide, has wonderful insights into the city's past and I highly recommend taking this tour. I will be taking it again... once he adds more dates.

    Smart, funny and informative. I have lived in Chicago for a long time, and I thought I was well versed in the city's corruption... I was wrong. Paul is an excellent guide, has wonderful insights into the city's past and I highly recommend taking this tour. I will be taking it again... once he adds more dates.

  • Show more
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{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Mike D.","created_at":"7 months","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"Paul took us on a private 3 hour tour. Everyone in the group loved the tour and had great things to say about the route, interesting facts and stories Paul told, and his ability to answer our questions throughout the day. Would definitely recommend to someone interested in Chicago history and politics.","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Mary W.","created_at":"about 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"This tour was amazing! The corruption covered ran the gamut and I will never look at some of the areas I pass everyday in the same way.","teacher_response":null}
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{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"C B.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"This was incredibly informative and a lot of fun. Paul is a really knowledgable guide who knew so much about the teeming cesspool of Chicago's political history. The 90-minute plus tour was a blast and Paul's history as a Chicago journalist provided a lot of in-depth information about my city's history of graft. ","teacher_response":null}
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{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Cynthia B.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"This walking tour was a lot of fun. I took the extended tour which brought us all over downtown Chicago. The tour guide was Paul and he is extremely knowledgeable about the topic. But he wasn't dry or unapproachable. He presented all the facts in a very relaxed and funny way so it was almost like hearing juicy gossip and not boring history. (I they taught history like that in high school kids would be much better in history.) I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys taking tours of Chicago like the river tours and wants something a little different. But, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. ","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Vladimir B.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"A well organized and eye opening tour. Showcases local and state corruption from before Chicago was a city to on-going gerrymandering of voting districts. Tour was well researched and adds real depth to famous and not so famous cases. Well done.","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Kari M.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"Paul was detailed and smart. This was was an entirely different take on our city...centuries of corruption revealed. So interesting! ","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Alex E.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"Paul is great! Highlights of the tour included:\r\n\r\n-How he presented the thought-provoking issue of somebody being a good person vs doing good for the city/Illinois (Patrick Fitzgerald, for example)\r\n-How he presents his opinion alongside the facts of the stories\r\n-How well-prepared Paul is for the tour. His use of primary sources is delightful.","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Dina F.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"paul was very engaged with the group throughout the tour. very interesting and well organized content. i highly recommend! ","teacher_response":null}
{"commenter_avatar":"/assets/fallback/default_user_photo-5cf83e232ebc4a1bab67fb6bf24fa1d1da9b603af2a2bc8e98c6d4c2d015d107.png","reviewer_name":"Sean G.","created_at":"over 1 year","title_link":"\u003cstrong\u003eChicago Corruption Walking Tour\u003c/strong\u003e","positive":true,"review_content":"Smart, funny and informative. I have lived in Chicago for a long time, and I thought I was well versed in the city's corruption... I was wrong. Paul is an excellent guide, has wonderful insights into the city's past and I highly recommend taking this tour. I will be taking it again... once he adds more dates.","teacher_response":null}