Our six-part series on Chicago's neighborhoods and suburbs concludes with a salute to the southland.
1/ Thornton goes way back. An 1840 map of the area shows Chicago, "Napierville" (Naperville), "Juliet" (Joliet) – and Thornton. And the nearby Hoxie Site offers proof that Native Americans lived – and fortified – the area as early as 1400.
2/ Harry Caray's first radio job was at WCLS in Joliet. That's where he got rid of his original surname, Carabina, and took on Caray.
3/ Even if you're not in the south suburbs, you're closer than you think. Lemont stone, a warm, yellow limestone, quarried in and around the south suburb, was used to build Chicago's Water Tower and Pumping Station, Holy Name Cathedral and thousands of houses and house foundations across the Chicago area.
4/ The town of Matteson is pronounced Mat-te-son, not Matt-son, according to the suburb's official Web site.
5/ Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley is not buried in the city he loved. His final resting place is Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Worth.
6/ After being excluded from Blue Island, African-Americans started their own community in 1917. They called it Robbins. Bessie Coleman, an early aviation pioneer who had to go to France to escape racism and learn to fly, helped found an airport there. A portion of Mannheim Road near O'Hare is named after her.
7/ Thousands of acres of the south suburbs are set aside as forest preserves and parks. One section near Hickory Hills was called Buffalo Woods. It was home to the county's very own buffalo herd. A gift of Yellowstone National Park in 1924, the eight beasts grew to a herd of 24. But by 1934 the number was back to eight, and the county decided to get rid of them. One commissioner suggested "making buffalo robes" and another preferred "buffalo steaks." In the end, the commissioners voted to have the beasts killed. The buffalo were spared after the county was inundated by pleas from animal lovers, who offered to find homes for the beasts.
8/ If you believe in ghosts – or even if you don't – one of the most unsettling stories is surely Resurrection Mary in Justice. Legend has it that a young woman was killed in the late 1930s on Archer Avenue by a hit-and-run driver, and she's been hitchhiking in the area ever since. In 1979, Suburban Trib columnist Bill Geist recounted numerous sightings, odd encounters and even conversations by various people with a striking, blond-haired beauty who was "very cold to the touch."
9/ Chances are if you grew up in the south suburbs and came of age in the 1980s and '90s, you know Reilly's Daughter. This legendary pub, at 111th Street and Pulaski Road in Oak Lawn, is now closed, but in its heyday was known for its live music, St. Paddy's Day celebrations and an annual visit by Notre Dame's football coach.
10/ The best-selling Bible translation, the New International Version, was conceived in Palos Heights. It was there in 1965 that a group of scholars agreed on the need for a new translation in contemporary English. The idea was seconded a year later in Chicago at a larger gathering of religious leaders. The NIV was published in 1978.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the Tribune's weekend editor.
Sources: "I Remember Harry Caray," by Rich Wolfe and George Castle; "Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans," by Pat Hughes and Bruce Miles; Cook County Forest Preserve; "Encyclopedia of Chicago"; Biblica; Christian Booksellers Association; Palos Heights; "A Native's Guide to Chicago's South Suburbs," by Christina Bultinck and Christy Johnston-Czarnecki; villageofmatteson.org; "The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History" by Libby Hill; village of Lemont; "Oddball Illinois," by Jerome Pohlen; http://www.ghostresearch.com; and Tribune archives.Copyright © 2015, CT Now