The first civilian bombing in the United States occurred right here in Chicago, in the West Loop, on the night of May 4, 1886. At the time of the first nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday, a rally was organized to protest police brutality against rioting workers on the previous afternoon at the McCormick Reaper Works at Wood Street and Blue Island Road.

At the end of the protest meeting, a bomb was thrown in the midst of police officers, killing seven of them as well as a few civilians and injuring dozens more. The ensuing trial of some of the movement’s leadership, the execution of four of eight of the convicted and the aftermath is known as the Haymarket Affair.

The tours entail the areas of the bombing, the trial and execution in addition to sites of the bomb-making, the labor newspaper offices and a smattering of other interesting details.

The Express Tour

Would take up to 45 minutes and focus on the main event of the bombing and an overview of the trial and execution.

The Main Tour

Would last around 60-90 minutes (West Loop, Loop, & the Hubbard/Dearborn area of downtown.

The Nerd Tour

Would be a good three-four hours and include Old Town at North Ave. and Sedgwick as well as police headquarters at 35th and Michigan Ave. and the cemetery at Forest Park). Travel by CTA (a Day Pass would be needed) or vehicle is recommended, but the two shorter tours are certainly do-able on foot.

Tour Availability

Mondays: Available Until 12 noon*

Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays: Available Anytime

Friday: Available Until 12 noon*

Saturday & Sunday: Available Until 12 noon*

*Please know that I am flexible with a three to four week notice, and would be able to accommodate most requests.