Welcome to my newsletter where I share updates about my writing projects and discuss the importance of historic places.
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Volume 3, Issue 1, March 17, 2018
Happy St. Patrick's Day
A lot has happened since my last newsletter in November. One of my short stories is being published in the U.K. as part of a collection of short stories by a non-profit group that raises money for children's medical research. All stories are family friendly and suitable for older children, teens and adults. Two new novels by me are in significant stages of completion. More on that in a few months. For now, Happy St. Paddy's Day. May all your worries be few and your successes be many.

Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins 

Chicago River 
The Chicago River has had a unique role in the annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day since 1962 when flourescein dye was used to find the source of plumbing leaks discharging illegal pollution into the river. The dye was a reddish or dark orange color but turned the water a bright green. As a result, the river is dyed on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day or, if March 17 is on a Saturday, it is dyed on that day.

Chicago River - St. Patrick's DayBy 1966, the flourescein dye was determined to be harmful to the river and was replaced by a vegetable dye which has the same colorful effect. The ingredients are a closely guarded secret and members of the local plumbers union are the ones who carry out putting the dye in the river. This has become quite an event with a set time and locations, attracting approximately 400,000 spectators who line the banks to watch. The process traditionally involves two boats: one large and one small. The large boat goes out first to spread the dye in the river, followed by the smaller boat to help mix it up. In less than an hour, the water changes color and remains green for several hours.

The first Europeans to write about the Chicago River were the French explorers, Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, in 1673. During the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the fire jumped the river. It has seen ship disasters and floods, pollution and clean-up. This 156-mile waterway uses canal locks and has more than 30 movable bridges to accommodate both ship and street traffic. With all the Irish immigrants, Irish descendants, and Irish at heart in Chicago, the river also gets into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day.

Recent Articles...

Blarney Stone Tradition in Irish History and Legend
Kissing the Blarney StoneThe Irish tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone has been around for centuries. Although there are different stories as to how the legend came about, the end result is the same—those who kiss the stone will have the gift of eloquent speech. Continue reading-->


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Coming Soon...

Assorted Short Stories book cover by Bugs2writesI'm pleased to be joining the company of authors Julie Hatton, Sandra Knowles, David G. Hulson, and others in a book to be released in 2018 (date TBA). Assorted Short Stories is the latest book to be published by the non-profit group Bugs2writes which raises money for children's medical research in the U.K. The book will be available on and

"The Grass Patters" is a humorous tale about a curious, but not nosy, woman who sees her neighbors poking around in their yard. What starts out as a little eccentric ends up of interest to the whole community with the curious neighbor having a front row seat.  
Photo credits: Assorted Short Stories: courtesy of Julie Hatton, editor.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2018 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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