Chicago Architecture Foundation to Benefit Family of Fallen Docent

On Sunday, August 19, the Chicago Architecture Foundation will host a series of tours and events with the proceeds going to a very worthy cause.

Steve O'Rourke

On the evening of July 18, 2007, the cool night air hung stilly over a Chicago neighborhood as Steve O’Rourke walked home after attending a concert with his friends. But, when Steve entered the intersection of Foster and Marmora Avenues, the quiet night was shattered by a loud “thud,” followed by the horrid screech of tires on wet pavement and an engine being thrown into full acceleration. That night, Steve O’Rourke was taken from this earth by a hit and run accident, leaving behind a family of four to fend for themselves.

Hours later, authorities found the crumpled and tattered body of Steve O’Rourke tangled underneath a white Lincoln Continental parked nearly a mile from the scene of the accident. The driver of the car was not the same driver that hit Steve initially and according to police, was unaware that he had hit anything, attributing the size of the car and the weather to the oversight.

CAF bicycle tours both exercise and educate the tourist.

According to Steve’s wife, Rachel, her husband loved the city of Chicago very much. Steve was a project manager and licensed architect at HPZS architecture firm, his most recent project being the Dearborn Homes for the Chicago Housing Authority. Wishing to share his love of architecture and the city of Chicago, Steve volunteered with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, devoting a large amount of time to guiding walking tours of the city’s architecture.

Architecture boat tours are a relaxing way to take in the city.

But now, with Steve’s voice silenced forever and his knowledge of the city and its architecture no longer able to be shared, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) wishes to celebrate the memory of Steve O’Rourke and help his family in their time of crisis.

Segway tours are a unique way to see the city.

When Steve died, he left his wife to single handedly raise their three children on her own. But according to Rachel, Steve’s life insurance only covered the funeral, leaving her with a mortgage along with numerous other final expenses.

A walking tour stops to learn about the architecture on State Street.

This is where the CAF is stepping in and striving to help Steve’s family in their hour of need. On Sunday, August 19, 2007, the CAF will host a series of guided tours of the city of Chicago. These tours will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with all the proceeds going to help Steve’s family pay for his final expenses. Along with the guided tours, there will be a special presentation of a narrated slide show companion to Erik Larson’s popular novel “Devil in the White City.” (Check out Splash's review of the CAF's full "Devil in the White City" tour here.)

Tours will begin here, at the Archicenter.

All tours will begin from the ArchiCenter Shop at 224 South Michigan Avenue. Tickets for the regular walking tours are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. There will also be two guided tours especially for families entitled “Structure: The Secret of Skyscrapers.” Tickets for these tours are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Entry to the special “Devil in the White City” slideshow is a minimum of $20. The CAF will also be collecting individual donations at the event, as well as after the benefit through online contributions at

Steve O’Rourke loved Chicago and he wanted everyone to share in this love. Now, although his children may be without a father, and his wife without a husband, Steve will certainly live on in the hearts and minds of all the people whose lives were enriched by his passion for architecture, and his love for the great city of Chicago.

For more information on this event or the Chicago Architecture Foundation, please visit, or call (312) 922-3432.

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