Sarah Vowell has a theory that you can tell the entire history of the United States by standing on one street corner—specifically at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in Chicago—and describing all the events that happened within eyeshot of the corner. She covers three centuries of history, from Louis Joliet to Keanu Reeves. (21 minutes)

Correction: In this story Sarah Vowell references The Jungle and mistakenly cites the author as Sinclair Lewis. The correct author is Upton Sinclair.