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WTTW Press Room


For Immediate Release
February 23, 2006

WTTW11 PRESENTS CHICAGO'S WESTERN SUBURBS:
FROM PRAIRIE SOIL TO PRAIRIE STYLE
Host Geoffrey Baer Travels Chicago's Western Suburbs In New Television Special

Premieres Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm
Sunday, March 12 at 7:00 pm
Monday, March 20 at 7:30 pm


Chicago, IL - Geoffrey Baer, well-known WTTW11 on-air host, producer and Chicago Architecture Foundation tour guide, returns to the airwaves on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m with his newest documentary Chicago's Western Suburbs:From Prairie Soil To Prairie Style. This is the fourth original documentary in Baer's highly successful multi-part series exploring the character of Chicago's suburbs. "There are enough big names associated with the Western Suburbs for a Hollywood-style Walk of Fame," says Baer. "Most people know the familiar stories about Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park, Al Capone's relationship to Cicero and Wheaton natives Billy Graham and John Belushi. I also want to tell the not-so-well-known tales about how the Marx Brothers tried to make a go of it as farmers on a plot of land just south of LaGrange and that the inventors of the Mars Bar, the Twinkie and Kool-Aid all lived in River Forest." Chicago's Western Suburbs:From Prairie Soil To Prairie Style debuts on WTTW11 on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Host Geoffrey Baer has taken WTTW11 viewers all over the Chicago area in his popular television tours. He's twice cruised the river, hiked through the Loop's skyscraper canyons, explored the lakefront, visited diverse urban neighborhoods from onboard the 'L', and profiled the history of Chicago's suburban regions to great acclaim by viewers and critics alike. Chicago's Western Suburbs: From Prairie Soil to Prairie Style was a welcome challenge for Baer. "Researching this project was fascinating," said host and writer Baer. "Every inch of this region, from Cicero to Naperville, is rich in history, fable and significance." Chicago's Western Suburbs: From Prairie Soil to Prairie Style weaves these stories together, with the help of the rail lines and waterways, to illustrate the tremendous influence this area has had locally, nationally and internationally.

Baer and his crew tell the stories of Chicago's Western Suburbs with a television journey that starts in Cicero and proceeds westward along Chicago's second oldest railroad line, originally called the Chicago Burlington and Quincy, now Metra's Burlington Line. This leg of the journey takes viewers through Berwyn, Riverside, Lyons, Brookfield, LaGrange, Westchester, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Downers Grove, Lisle and into Naperville. At Naperville, the focus shifts from rail travel to the water, heading north along the DuPage River through Warrenville to West Chicago. Then, it is back to the rails on Chicago's oldest line, the Galena and Chicago Union (popularly remembered as the Chicago and Northwestern) for the eastward progression back through Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Addison, Villa Park, Elmhurst, Melrose Park, Maywood, Forest Park, River Forest and the tour's conclusion in Oak Park.

Some of the people, places and stories featured along the journey's route include:
-The Western Electric factory in Cicero that manufactured every telephone in America for more than half a century.
-How the designer of New York's Central Park created Riverside.
-The world famous Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus.
-Brookfield Zoo
-Morton Arboretum
-Melrose Park's Kiddieland, originally built to cheer up residents in the heart of the Great Depression.
-The night a gang of Civil War veterans from Wheaton raided the Naperville courthouse to steal county records.

Chicago's Western Suburbs: From Prairie Soil to Prairie Style captures the same energy, humor and intriguing storytelling that have made Baer's previous documentaries (Chicago By Boat: The River Tour, Chicago's Loop: A Walking Tour, Chicago's Lakefront, Chicago By 'L': Touring the Neighborhoods, Chicago's North Shore, South of Chicago: Suburbs, Steel Mills, Shoreline, Northwest of Chicago and Chicago By Boat: The New River Tour) some of WTTW11's most popular original productions.

Chicago's Western Suburbs: From Prairie Soil to Prairie Style is an original production of WTTW11.
Writer and host is Geoffrey Baer, producer/director is Mike Lorentz, associate producer and researcher is Susan Godfrey, associate producer is April Davis, executive producer is VJ McAleer.

Major funding provided by Harris Bank

For Additional information, contact:
Holly H. Gilson
(773) 509-5424
hgilson@wttw.com

Geoffrey Baer
On location at the
Frank Lloyd Wright Home
and Studio in Oak Park

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Berwyn's famous
"Spindle" in the Cermak
Plaza shopping center

Download Photo

Geoffrey Baer
On location at the
Brookfield Zoo

Download Photo

Riverside's historic
Water Tower
One of the many great places you'll visit on the tour

Download Photo

       
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