Obscura Society IL: The Dark Side of Little Italy - Atlas Obscura


Obscura Society IL: The Dark Side of Little Italy

Join us as we unearth fascinating stories that fell through the cracks of history

Discover the secrets of Taylor Street—public hangings, arsonist queens, and devil babies!

We say that there’s history on every block, but sometimes you come across a stretch of road where the strange stories seem to come up through every crack. One such place is the stretch of Taylor St. between Halsted and Ashland. Known today as Little Italy, the prohibition era mobsters were only one link in a long chain of fascinating history. On this 90 minute tour, author and historian Adam Selzer will tell stories of arsonist queens, public hangings, miser’s curses, devil baby scares, murders, nuns whose bodies turned to stone, and legendary mobsters of the 1920s who made Taylor Street their home.

Host Adam Selzer has made a career of rescuing odd Chicago stories from the dustbin of history. He is the author of several books, including Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film IndustryThe Smart Aleck's Guide to American History, and The Ghosts of Chicago. He hosts the MYSTERIOUS CHICAGO blog, appears frequently on WGN, NPR, and cable TV, and has been a tour guide for over a decade, running roughly 200 ghost tours per year.

Notes for this adventure:

 - Meet outside of Hull House, 800 S. Halsted Street. We will be walking on Taylor Street from Halsted to Ashland (roughly one mile), ending around Taylor and Ashland:

  • START: 800 S. Halsted Street (close to the UIC blue line stop and the #8 Halsted bus)
  • END: Intersection of Taylor and Ashland (convenient to the #9 bus on Ashland and the Polk pink line stop)

- Family friendly, but may be a bit gruesome!

 - This is a one mile walk, mostly on sidewalk.

 - There are no public restrooms on this tour.

 - WEATHER CANCELLATION: This event is weather dependent. If we are expecting significant rain on this date, we will cancel the event via email. Tickets will be refunded or transferred to a rescheduled date, depending on your availability.

Advance ticket sales only. All sales are final.