November 4, 2004
Vol. 24 No. 4

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    New Jersey native wins Encyclopedia of Chicago trivia contest

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Evan Druce

    What drugs were created in Chicago? What political party was formed in Chicago? Where was Al Capone during the St. Valentine’s Day massacre?

    On Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Art Institute of Chicago, these questions—and dozens more like it—were asked as part of the first-ever Encyclopedia of Chicago trivia contest. The event, hosted by National Public Radio’s Peter Sagal, attracted trivia mavens from all over the Chicago region.

    But the grandmaster of Chicago trivia was not a South Sider, North Sider or even a suburbanite—it was Chicago third-year and Upper Saddle River, N.J. native Evan Druce.

    As winner of the contest, Druce does not get the key to the city, but he nearly gets the keys to the city’s museums—free memberships to the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Newberry Library, the Chicago Historical Society and the Notebart Nature Museum.

    But this perk was not the only reward for Druce. “The best part about winning the contest was the feeling that I had become a true Chicagoan, a part of the city, rather than a transplant who spends four years in Hyde Park and doesn’t interact with the city.”

    Although Druce is concentrating in Linguistics, his first love is geography, and he is interested in attending graduate school in urban planning. “I’m interested in large cities all across the country.” It was an urban geography class with Michael Conzen, Professor and Chairman of the Committee on Geographic Studies and the College, who served as map editor of the Encyclopedia of Chicago, which initially spurred Druce’s interest in the book.

    “When I found that there would be a Chicago trivia contest coinciding with the release of the book, I was excited,” said Druce. “When I arrived at the contest, I was even more excited that the questions would be presented by none other than this city’s resident quizmaster Peter Sagal.”

    Chicago’s trivia champ, though, will not take all the credit for his victory. His “celebrity” partner in the final round was Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn. “I couldn’t have won without him,” said Druce.