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The life and times of Mr. Chicago River (Aka Chi River to my friends)

Preview of Chicago and your future tour guide!

Mr River Poster

Mr River Poster


Thank you for downloading my app on your phone and welcome to my city of Chicago, I am Mr. River or Chi River if you please. I know that my city can be a little confusing and there are a lot of signs, tourist maps, and guides but let me try to help you. I will be your guide today and I can give you information about my dear city from the very beginning or present day. You will notice I have a photographic memory (pun intended) and can tell you anything about our shared history. You see I was here before Chicago was even thought of and have seen it all from start to finish.

What’s that? You don’t know where to start? Well let’s start with where it all began first. I can tell you about all the rest later if you have time. If you ever need a break you can hit pause and I will start where we left off next time you launch my app. I have been told I talk a lot so I don’t mind a little break if you need one. Okay where was I? Oh right the start of Chicago, the city. The name “Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as “wild onion” or “wild garlic”, from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as “Checagou” was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir written about the time. During the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The 1780s saw the arrival of the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who was of African and European (French) descent. In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in the War of 1812, Battle of Fort Dearborn and later rebuilt. The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. The Potawatomi were eventually forcibly removed from their land following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833.
On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of around 200. Within seven years it would grow to a population of over 4,000. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales commenced with Edmund Dick Taylor as U.S. receiver of public moneys. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 and went on to become the fastest growing city in the world for several decades.

Well that is a lot covered in a short amount of time. I have a lot more to tell but you should go explore some of things we just talked about. Make sure you visit part of the Fort Dearborn’s outline that is marked by plaques and a line embedded in the sidewalk and road near the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Wacker Drive for example.

Come again and we will start where we left off.

Special thanks to our friends at wikipedia ( for all their support in making this content possible.


Tell me a story about Chicago, Mr River.

For my next thought on something in the real world that could use a story I was reminded how fun it is to have a friend play tour guide when you are in a city. This past week I was in Chicago and a friend was taking me around the Magnificent Mile telling me about all the rich history. The sad thing was the lack of posts around the river that would explain exactly what she was telling me. So what if we took the river and buildings around it and made a story about it? This one would be biographical and tell the story of Chicago from the point of view of the river. You could take a bunch of different routes with this from either beginning of time to present, just the industrial revolution to now, or just present day, etc. All these would allow for you to tell what is around you that you are seeing and some history. The full story could be in a book and/or divided up among the river on posts so folks can read about it.
I even found a video on youtube that looks like an advertisement for the area already. So folks can see the value in marketing this and just giving it a different twist with my story.

I have an alarming story to tell you

Write another blog post summarizing what you found that might or might not work for something that could use a story approach to make it more effective. Explain why you chose it. Even if you are not sure if it will work, keep the ideas going.

I was thinking about what my next story would be and saw the piece of paper under my alarm system that I left out for a guest that stayed last week. I have the basic instructions for how to set the alarm and commands. That got me to thinking how I might change the instructions into a story to make it more memorable. Right now when folks come to stay with me they are so nervous and keep that paper around for the whole time. But if I was to make the instructions into a story it could help people remember maybe and not get confused. I think I could make it a story told from the viewpoint of the alarm system as if they are welcoming a guest and are like the door man, letting them in and out of the building.

A quick search of youtube shows you that I am not alone. My alarm has stay and away which can confuse. Here is an example to see what it can be like to try to remember.

Do not throw your remote! Let’s talk about it…

Okay so there is a thought what could be a story that I think all people struggle with when trying to watch TV, the remote. Think about it! It is almost as complicated as a bus or performance reviews! We get a tv, a dvd player, game systems, apple tv, audio equipment and then try to pull them together with one remote. But do we really understand how to control it or even tell our friends? What if we had a story that could have profiles of what they wanted to do and how to do it with our remotes. You could simplify the mystery and make it a fun story that they could assume a character in to get the system they wanted. You want to play a game? Great I have a story about a teenager that wants to play xbox and the steps he takes to get it accomplished. Want to watch netflix? Great let’s talk about the story about Mom who loves movies.

Universal Remote

Universal Remote

Okay but did you hear that story about…

So my first idea for a story around using the bus to get around the city seems like it might be a good option. Now my second idea is doing performance reviews for work. Everyone at work is feeling my pain and it got me to thinking that I have told folks some of my tips and tricks a lot over the last month. Maybe there is a story that could be told from the perspective of the career counselor getting ready to advocate for your counselee on the year end call. So you could take fictional characters that match the high performer, middle performer, and low performer and what you need to do for each character to get ready. You could take it from a system process to the people process and weave in the tips and tricks. I would stress the items you must collect to get ready and what you need to be sure you complete.
Man giving feedback

Wondering how to use the DC bus system? That reminds me of a story…

I knew the minute the first video blog came out for this class that the picking of the story for my final project would be tough. In our other GMU classes it was always a struggle to come up with a topic for the final project and I knew this would be no different. So I thought back to all the things in my life that I interact with but are not always explained well to me or others. Since I live in DC and like to use public transportation it dawned on me that that could be a great topic. Almost everyone seems to figure out the Metro Trains first and sometimes graduate to adding in the bus system. But I have heard more than once in my 7 years here that folks have a hard time figuring out our bus system. I feel the reason is the complex nature and multiple lines. The metro trains are fewer and thus the map is as well. You have less of a fear of getting on the wrong train and headed in the wrong direction than a bus it seems.

Why not rethink how the bus system guides are provided and rethink how to convey the message to readers. I bet stories based in the areas folks live with a journey to the major points in the city could be exactly what the doctor ordered. I think depicting the day and life of a character as they go to work and live life could really connect with people.
Picture of dc bus system