The Darker Side of History: Taylor Street - Atlas Obscura

Chicago, Illinois

The Darker Side of History: Taylor Street

Travel the same stretch of Little Italy that was home to some of Chicago's most notorious mobsters.

They say that there’s history on every block, but sometimes you come across a stretch of road where the strange stories seem to emerge from every crack. One such place is the stretch of Taylor Street between Halsted and Ashland.

Join Atlas Obscura as we uncover the dark history of Little Italy, once a haven for Prohibition-era mobsters in Chicago. On this 90-minute walking tour, author and historian Adam Selzer will tell stories of arsonist queens, public hangings, miser’s curses, devil baby scares, 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 pens the MYSTERIOUS CHICAGO blog, appears frequently on WGN and NPR, and has been a tour guide for over a decade, running roughly 200 ghost tours per year.


  • 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.
  • Tour will run rain or shine.
  • Limited ADA accessibility based on sidewalks.
  • Wear your walking shoes and bring your cameras!


Email Adam Selzer at

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