In the 50 years after the Civil War, America's population quadrupled. That's right: four times as many people within five decades. That surge of humanity made the turn-of-the-century United States a nation of 75 million people flocking to cities built so fast some didn't have plumbing. What if one of those cities (Chicago) installed its pipes after the fact by raising entire structures into the air like in a cartoon? What if America's nationwide surge of urbanization led to a host of other problems almost too weird to contemplate? And what if our cities are full of smelly trees, gross traitor-statues, and more odd issues to this day?

On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedian Ryan Asher, journalist Maya Dukmasova, historian Jane Dailey, and an amazing LIVE audience at Lincoln Hall in Chicago IL. Hear this Chicago super-team break down the animals, minerals, cartoon corruption and other problems plaguing America's cities (in a fun way!).


Ryan Asher (The Second City)

Maya Dukmasova (The Chicago Reader)

Jane Dailey (The University Of Chicago)

Building the American Republic Vols. 1 & 2

Remembering Boston's Deadly Molasses Flood, 100 Years Later (WBUR)

This Is Why Your City Smells Like Cum and Vomit Every Spring (VICE)

Why Do We Keep Planting Stinky Ginkgos? (Slate)

Chicago's forgotten Civil War prison camp (WBEZ)

Confederate Statues Were Built To Further A 'White Supremacist Future' (NPR)

William Mahone: The Confederate General Who Was Erased (Huffington Post)

'Blue Zones' author ranks Charlottesville, Va., No. 3 on his list of 25 happiest U.S. cities. Here's why. (The Washington Post)

How An Arthur Ashe Statue Ended Up In Richmond's Confederate Memorial (

Whose Heritage? 153 Years Of Confederate Iconography (SPLC)

Map for above SPLC project

Coyotes live in almost all US cities. Here's how to avoid trouble with them (University Of Washington Conservation Magazine)

Why Are Coyotes Thriving in the Chicago Area? (WTTW)

Coyotes Are Colonizing Cities. Step Forward the Urban Hunter. (The New York Times)

The Simpsons - Homers Spirit Guide (YouTube)

Did the polar vortex make a dent in the city's rodent population? The short answer: you wish (The Chicago Reader)

Is Chicago the 'Rat Capital' of the US? (WTTW)

Rat Patrol: This isn't pest control. This is war. (The Chicago Reader)

Guide to Rat Breeding & Reproduction (

The Surprising Source of New York's First Environmental Problem (Mental Floss)

When Horses Posed a Public Health Hazard (The New York Times)

The hogs that created America's first urban working class (Quartz)

Raising the Chicago streets out of the mud (The Chicago Tribune)

How to Filter Lead from Your Tap Water (Environmental Working Group)

How Political Clout And Union Power Created Chicago's Lead Water Problem (WBEZ)

This Procedure Can Spike Lead Levels In Your Water - But You Probably Wouldn't Know About It (WBEZ)

To remove lead pipes, Chicago can learn from Madison's example (The Chicago Reporter)

A Look At Chicago's Corrupt Aldermen Through The Years (CBS 2 Chicago)

Election 2019 (The Chicago Reader)

Cupcake electioneering hits Uptown (The Chicago Reader)

Ald. Cappleman officially secures third term after challenge withdrawn (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Ald. Munoz accused of raiding Progressive Caucus fund for personal use (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Viagra, sex acts, use of a luxury farm: Feds detail investigation of Ald. Solis (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Thames whale (The Guardian)

A Brief History Of Exploding Whales (The Atlantic)

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