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Chicago history, facts, information



--- A black man from Haiti named Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable, a fur trader, founded a settlement called Eschikagou on the north bank of the Chicago River. (He was not officially recognized as the city's founder until 1968.)


--- The first birth on record in Chicago was of Eulalia Pointe du Sable, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable and his Potawatomi Indian wife.


--- Chicago had its beginnings in Fort Dearborn ; built by US Federal Troops. It was named for President Jefferson's Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn.


--- On August 12, the town of Chicago was incorporated with a population of 350.


--- William B. Ogden was elected the city's first mayor.

--- C. D. Peacock jewelers was founded. It is the oldest Chicago business still in existence today.


--- John Stone, 34, was the city's first legally executed criminal. He was hanged on Friday, July 10, for the rape and murder of Lucretia Thompson, a farmer's wife.


--- The first issue of the "Chicago Tribune" came off the presses on June 10.


--- On April 3, the Chicago Board of Trade was opened at 101 South Water Street by 82 local businessmen.

--- The first telegraphic communication between New York City and Chicago was established on June 10.


--- Northwestern University, the first university in the Chicago area, was founded.


--- A cholera epidemic took the lives of 5.5% of the population of Chicago.


--- The first formal Chicago police department was organized under Mayor Dr. Levi Boone.

--- Andreas von Zirngibl was born in Russia on March 30, 1797 and was a soldier in the army that fought Napoleon at Waterloo in 1816. He made his way to Chicago, where he had a farm and where he died on Aug. 21, 1855. In his will, he decreed that he be buried on his own land and that his grave be kept sacred, no matter what happened to the land. His grave still stands, surrounded by the rust and rubble of the American Fastener Salvage yard, which sprawls north and east of East 93rd Street and South Ewing Avenue.

1860 - 1900

--- Deaths from typhoid fever averaged 65 per 100,000 population a year.


--- Chicago's first royal visitor: King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales.


--- John Wentworth fired the entire Chicago Police Department when his term as mayor came to a close. This included 60 patrolmen, 3 sergeants, 3 lieutenants, and one captain. The city was entirely without police protection for twelve hours until the Board of Commissioners swore in some new officers to take their place.


--- The first hospital in Illinois: Chicago's Mercy Hospital.


--- Lincoln Park was designated as a recreational area. The 120-acre cemetery at the site had most of its graves removed and would be expanded to include more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, bridle paths, playgrounds, golf courses and museums. The cemetery had held the bodies of nearly 10,000 Confederate Civil War soldiers who had died in Chicago prisons - these were relocated to other cemeteries in 1870.

--- The Union Stock Yards were established in a one-square-mile area at Halsted Street and Exchange Avenue. (The yards closed on July 31, 1971, and were demolished. The gate was preserved, and was named a Chicago landmark on February 24, 1972.)


--- On April 15, the body of Abraham Lincoln lay in state in the courthouse rotunda in Chicago's City Hall before being taken on to Springfield.


--- Construction began on the Water Tower designed by architect W. W. Boyington.


--- The Great Chicago Fire raged from October 8 to 9th. It destroyed 3.5 square miles of the city, killing perhaps 250. The fire lasted 27 hours and destroyed 17,450 buildings.

--- Sparks from the fire started forest fires that destroyed more than a million acres of Michigan and Wisconsin timberland.

--- Queen Victoria and the people of Britain shipped cartons of books to Chicago. English novelist Thomas Hughes helped organize the books, which were the basis of the city's first library.

--- Other than the Water Tower, four public buildings still standing in Chicago predate the Great Fire of Oct. 8, 1871. They are: St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd.; Holy Family Catholic Church, 1019 S. May St.; St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 718 W. Adams St.; and First Baptist Congregational Church, 60 N. Ashland Ave.

On October 7, 1997, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution which absolved Mrs. O'Leary's cow of all blame for the Great Chicago Fire.


--- The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo was a bear cub, bought for $10 on June 1st.


--- The new Palmer House opened to replace the one burned in the 1871 fire. The new building was the first fireproof hotel ever to be constructed. The lavish dining room's menu included broiled buffalo, antelope, bear, mountain sheep, and blackbirds.


--- The Chicago Art Institute was founded.


--- The 10-story Home Insurance Company Building, designed by William LeBaron Jenney, was the first tall building ever built supported by an internal frame of iron and steel rather than thick masonry walls. (It was demolished in 1931.)


--- Chicago Police fired into a crowd of striking workers on May 1, killing 4 and wounding many others. On May 4, the Knights of Labor held a peaceful rally in Haymarket Square to protest the shooting, someone threw a bomb that knocked down 60 policemen, killing one and mortally wounding 6 others. The police fired into the crowd, many more were killed. The Haymarket Massacre marked the beginning of a worldwide May Day as a revolutionary memorial day.


--- The Chicago Auditorium opened December 9 with Adeline Patti singing "Home, Sweet Home" to an audience that included President Harrison.

--- Hull House opened in the South Halsted Street slums under the direction of Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. The settlement house helped the poor of the city.

--- The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago was created, it covered 185 square miles of Chicago and some western suburbs. The district now covers 858 square miles including nearly all of Cook County. The district presently serves Chicago, 114 other cities and villages, and 20 smaller local sanitary districts. At the time the sanitary district was formed the science of sewage treatment was practically unknown. However, research had begun and in 1930 the court ordered construction of sewage treatment plants in order to cut down on water diversion from Lake Michigan. The sanitary district has since built three sewage treatment plants. In 1955, the American Society of Civil Engineers selected the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago as one of the seven engineering wonders of the United States.


--- Chicago's first elevated railway "The El," went into operation to begin the "Loop" that would circle the city's downtown area.

--- The 16-story Monadnock Building at 53 W. Jackson Boulevard was the city's first skyscraper.

--- The typhoid death rate was 174 per 100,000 persons. Diseases resulting from water polluted by human waste brought about a state of emergency.

--- Chicago's Provident Hospital was the first interracial US hospital. Established by black surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, the facility operated the first US training school for black women. In 1893 Dr. Williams performed the world's first open-heart surgery, saving the life of a street fighter with a knife wound in an artery near his heart.


--- The University of Chicago opened on October 1 with an enrollment of 594 and a faculty of 103.

1893 - World's Columbian Exposition
Chicago, Illinois - May, 1893 through October, 1893

--- Total cost for the exposition was $27,245,566.90, excluding the $3-4 million spent by state, federal, and foreign governments on their exhibit buildings.

--- More than $5 million in funds was used to construct the Jackson Park lakefront site. The amount of space the fair actually covered was 633 acres.

--- The main buildings were estimated to have a combined cost of over $8,000,000.

--- The World's Columbian Exposition attracted 27 million visitors, almost 1/2 of US total population at that time.

--- The highest attendance day was October 9, 1893 (Chicago Day), with over 700,000 in attendance.

Famous Firsts from the fair...

# Aunt Jemima Syrup
# Cracker Jacks
# Cream of Wheat
# Diet carbonated soda
# Juicy Fruit gum
# Pabst Beer
# Shredded Wheat
# The carnival concept was born.
# The hamburger was introduced to the United States.
# The United States produced its first commemorative stamp set.
# The US Postal Service produced its first picture postcards.
# US Mint offered its first commemorative coins: a quarter, half dollar, and dollar.

--- George Ferris created a giant wheel for the World's Columbian Exposition. It stood 250 feet above the ground, contained 36 cars, each of which was capable of carrying 60 people, or a total of two-thousand, one-hundred and sixty people at a time. The axle for the 1,2000-ton Ferris Wheel was the largest steel forging in the world.

--- Visitors started with the Great White City at the center of the fair, but invariably migrated to the Midway Plaisance, a street one mile long and six hundred feet wide. A series of model villages teemed with food and dance, including the notorious Little Egypt (the scandalous "coochie-coochie girl of the Nile") in "The Streets of Cairo." Everything from German beer gardens to Samoan wrestlers were present in this prototypical amusement park.

--- On the last day of the World's Columbian Exposition, October 28, Chicago mayor Carter Harrison was assassinated at his home.

--- "The Windy City" --- New York Sun editor Charles Dana, tired of hearing Chicagoans boast of the world's Columbian Exposition, dubbed Chicago the "Windy City."

1893 - Other Facts

--- Chicago hired its first police woman. Her name was Marie Owens. (Chicago police women did not wear uniforms until 1956.)

--- The Field Museum was founded with $1 million contributed by Marshall Field. He later added a second $1 million, and when he died in 1906, he left $8 million in his will to the museum.


--- Edward L. Kenrys, a dentist turned sculptor, designed the giant lions guarding the entrance to Chicago's Art Institute.

--- Paul Boyton opened Paul Boyton's Water Chute, America's first modern amusement park, at 63rd and Drexel, on July 4, 1894. Captain Boyton's was the first amusement park to rely solely on mechanical attractions—specifically, America's first major Shoot-the-Chutes ride.


--- The first automobile race ever seen in the United States was held in Chicago. The track ran from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois. The winner was J. Frank Duryea, whose average speed was 71/2 miles per hour.

--- The city of Chicago opened its first public beach, in Lincoln Park.


--- Dr. Herman Mudgett, alias Henry H. Homes, after graduating from the University of Michigan Medical School, embarked upon a life of swindling, torture and murder. The second floor of the large building he built at 63rd and Wallace was designed expressly for the purpose of murder, being equipped with gas chambers, incinerators and other horrific devices. Chutes led to the basement, which was equipped with a variety of devices to dispose of bodies. He had about thirty known victims and was suspected of murdering hundreds of others using poison and gas. He was finally hanged May 7, 1896 for a Philadelphia murder.
Read more about this: Deadly Thrills : True Story of Chicago's Herman Mudgett


--- The first of Marshall Field's Clocks was installed at the corner of Washington and State Streets on November 26, 1897. The cast bronze clock rests some 17.5 feet above the sidewalk and weighs a hefty 7.75 tons.


--- The flow of the Chicago River was reversed. In 1887 it had been decided to attempt a bold engineering feat and reverse the Chicago River in order to improve Chicago's sewerage system and to reduce the epidemics of diseases caused by poor sewers. To reverse the flow of the Chicago River, a 28-mile canal was built from the south branch of the river through the low summit and down to Lockport. It was completed in 1900. The flow in this canal, commonly known as the Sanitary and Ship Canal or main channel, is controlled by locks at the mouth of the Chicago River and at Lockport. Rudolph Hering was the chief engineer of the drainage and water supply commission during this period.

--- Local entrepreneur, Minna Everleigh, 23, and her sister Ada, 21, bought and refurbished a bordello at 2131 S. Dearborn St., in the Levee, the city's notorious red-light district. The Everleigh Club was a high-class, high-priced bordello where visitors were required to have letters of introduction to be admitted. The Everleigh Club was closed by reform-minded Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. in 1911.


--- The Disney family house is at 2156 N. Tripp Ave., is a frame cottage that was erected between 1892 and 1893 and where Walt Disney was born in December, 1901. The modest cottage was built by his father, a carpenter who had worked at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Disney lived here with his family until he was 4, when his parents sold the house and moved to a farm in Missouri. The Disneys returned to Chicago in 1917 and settled on the Near West Side. Disney spent his senior year at McKinley High School and took night classes at the Academy of Fine Arts.


--- The Iroquois Theater caught fire during a performance by Eddie Foy. 600 lives were lost.


--- The first Rotary Club in America was founded in Chicago.


--- Chicago's cable car system ended this year.


--- The Chicago Police Department bought its first motor vehicle.

--- Riverview (1904 to 1967), at Belmont and Western in North Center, was home to the world's first suspended roller coaster.


--- Chicago became the first city in the United States to pass an ordinance requiring compulsory milk pasteurization.

--- Around the turn of the century, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built a studio for himself and home for his wife and five children at 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park. In 1909, Wright scandalized Oak Park society by embarking on what he described as a "spiritual hegira" to Europe with the wife of one of his clients Edwin H. Cheney. Her name was Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Wright returned to Oak Park in 1911 and converted his old studio to an apartment so his wife could rent it out for extra income. When that project was finished, he left Oak Park for good. In the 1970s, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation acquired, renovated and opened the Wright residence to the public.


--- The Eastland Disaster happened when 2,572 Western Electric employees, their friends and families were going to an annual company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana on the excursion steamer Eastland. The ship tilted to one side, and slowly rolled over at 7:28 a.m. Saturday, July 24, 1915. She was still moored to her dock between LaSalle and Clark Streets on the south bank of the Chicago River. Of the persons on board, 844 perished - making this Chicago's worst single disaster.


--- Resting on a foundation of over 20,000 wood pilings, Navy Pier opened in the summer of 1916 at a cost of $4.5 million.


--- Real estate broker Archibald Teller opened the first Fannie May candy store.


--- The Michigan Avenue Bridge was opened.

--- Ernest Hemingway was a Chicago resident at 100 E. Chicago Avenue.


--- Louis Armstrong, as a member of "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band", became a mainstay in Chicago and helped to usher in the Jazz Age.

--- The National Football League franchise transferred from Decatur, Illinois, to Chicago. The team took the name, Chicago Bears or, as we say in the Windy City, "Da Bears."


--- Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, both 19, confessed May 31 that they murdered their cousin Bobby Franks, 14, "in the interests of science." Lawyer Clarence Darrow saved them from the gallows; they were sentenced to life imprisonment. (Loeb was later killed in a prison fight. He was stabbed in the shower by an inmate he had made sexual advances to.)

--- The Wrigley Building was completed with a 32-story tower on Michigan Avenue. With 442,000 square feet, it was the first large building north of the Chicago River. In 1925 a 36-story Gothic skyscraper was added.


--- The Tribune Tower was completed on Michigan Avenue. The building's large gothic entrance contains pieces of stone from other famous buildings: Westminster Abbey, Cologne Cathedral, the Alamo, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid, and the Arc de Triomphe.


--- Originally called the Chicago Municipal Airport, Midway Airport opened. It was renamed in 1949 to honor the Battle of Midway in WW II. Midway was the world's busiest airport until 1959.

--- Kate Sturges Buckingham donated $750,000 to the city for construction of Buckingham Fountain as a memorial to her brother Clarence. The largest fountain in the world, it shoots a water jet 135 feet high.


--- Gang warfare reached a peak of brutality on St. Valentine's Day when 7 members of the George "Bugs" Moran gang were killed in a North Clark Street garage. Rival mobsters, competing for the lucrative illicit bootleg liquor trade, dressed in police uniforms and ambushed them. Police suspected that members of the Al Capone gang were responsible for the killing. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre lasted 8 minutes. ("Bugs" Moran was not killed - he died of lung cancer in 1957.)

--- John Graves Shedd presented the Shedd Aquarium as "a gift to the people of Chicago." It is the world's largest indoor aquarium.

--- Radio station WGN began broadcasting police calls which cut into regular radio programs. One year later, the police department bought its own transmitter.


--- Adler Planetarium opened, through a gift from local merchant Max Adler. It was the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.

--- The Chicago Board of Trade Building at 141 West Jackson Boulevard towered 45 stories above the city, and was the city's tallest structure for 40 years.

--- The Merchandise Mart was built for Marshall Field & Co. The $32 million, 4.2 million square foot building was the world's largest commercial building. It was sold it to Joseph P. Kennedy in 1945.


--- Al Capone was found guilty of evading $231,000 in income taxes. He was sentenced on October 24, by a Chicago federal court to 11 years in prison, and fined $50,000.


--- The Century of Progress Exposition.

--- Chicago mayor Anton Cermak was mortally wounded while riding in a car with President-elect Roosevelt. The assassin was thought to have been aiming for Roosevelt, but was possibly a hired gangland hit man.

--- Julius Rosenwald founded the Museum of Science and Industry. Today it is Chicago's leading tourist attraction.

--- The first All Star Game in baseball, played at Comiskey Park, brought out a capacity crowd of 47,595 fans to see such players as Lou Gehrig, Gabby Hartnett, Al Simmons, and Jimmy Foxx. The first home run in All Star Game history was hit by Babe Ruth off pitcher Wild Bill Hallahan.


--- John Dillinger was shot by the FBI in the alley next to the Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.


--- Chicago became known as the home of baton twirling when the first baton-twirling contest was held as part of the Chicagoland Music Festival.


--- July 18 - The first Oscar Mayer "Wienermobile" rolled out of General Body Company's factory. It was the invention of Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Meyer. The Wienermobile is still touring around the US today.


--- Chicago became the home of the 1st US blood bank.


--- In the 1st night game at Comiskey Park, the White Sox beat the Browns 5-2.


--- Dr. Enrico Fermi and his team of scientists released the first controlled atomic nuclear chain reaction on December 2. The team's nickname was the "suicide squad."


--- The national tradition of organ music at baseball games began in Chicago when the Chicago Cubs installed an organ at Wrigley Field.


--- The Wrigley Building is the first air-conditioned office building.


--- Chicago Transit Authority formed, by buying the Chicago Surface Lines (streetcars, trolley buses, and motor buses) and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (trains). It is established as an independent governmental agency of the City of Chicago.


--- Merrill C. Meigs Field Airport was a single strip airport built on Northerly Island, the man-made island originally created to house the 1933-1934 Century of Progress. The airport opened on December 10, 1948, and became the country's busiest single-strip airport by 1955.


--- Originally called Orchard Place, O'Hare Airport was named in honor of Lieut. Commander Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare who earned a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1942 for having shot down 5 Japanese bombers and crippled a sixth, but died in 1943 at the age of 29. By 1961, O'Hare Field surpassed Chicago's Midway to become the world's busiest air travel facility.

--- TV soap operas began in Chicago. The first TV daytime soap opera, "These Are My Children," was broadcast from Chicago's NBC.


--- Dearborn (Blue line) subway opens connecting the west-northwest (Douglas Park, Congress Street, Milwaukee Avenue) route through downtown subways instead of by elevated trains.


--- At 6052 S. Harper Street, Hugh Hefner started the publication of "Playboy."

--- The Chicago Cubs signed their first black player, Ernie Banks.


--- The first McDonald's franchise restaurant, owned by Ray Kroc, opened in the suburb of DesPlaines.


--- On the morning of June 21, 1958, the last streetcar ran in Chicago. At one time, Chicago had the largest streetcar system in the world.

--- On December 1, 1958 sometime after 2:00 p.m., a fire started in a trash drum in the basement stairwell of Our Lady of Angels school, 909 N. Avers. Children and nuns were trapped inside the building. Windows offered the only egress and before any equipment was available for evacuation, children began leaping from them. The fire was brought under control at 3:45 p.m. and the work of recovering bodies began. Ninety students and three nuns died. One hundred sixty children were saved. The fire at Our Lady of Angels school was suspected to have been intentionally set. Over the years at least two individuals were closely investigated, confessed and recanted. No one has been charged with the crime.


--- Comedy showcase "Second City" was founded on North Wells Street in a former Chinese laundry.


--- Chicago's last meat packing house closed.

--- The 1st of the Playboy Clubs, featuring bunnies, opened in Chicago.


--- The Dan Ryan Expressway opened, named for the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.


--- Marina City apartments and offices were completed on the Chicago River. The 60-story round twin towers were designed by Bertrand Goldberg. The unusual construction consists of weight loads carried chiefly by cylindrical cores, pie-shaped rooms extend into rings of semicircular balconies. The first 18 floors are parking.


--- Eight student nurses were murdered on July 13 by Richard Speck, 24. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court overruled the death sentence in 1971.


--- The "Chicago Picasso," a 50-foot steel sculpture, was installed outside of the Civic Center Plaza at Washington Street and Dearborn.


--- During the Democratic Party Convention bloody confrontations between police and demonstrators who were protesting US military involvement in Southeast Asia and many domestic policies. Some 10,000 attended a "Festival of Life" in Grant and Lincoln parks with rock concerts, marijuana smoking, beach nude-ins, and draft-card burning. 16,000 Chicago police, 4,000 state police, and 4,000 National Guardsmen brutally subdue the crowds.


--- The 100-floor John Hancock Center was built.

--- Rail service begins in the Dan Ryan Expressway median, or "up the middle" as they put it. This marks another transit innovation made in Chicago - the first expressway/freeway median rail service ever - now commonly used in cities all over the world.


--- The Woodfield Mall regional shopping center, one of the world's largest, with 2 million square feet of selling space, opened for business on Sept. 9, 1971, at the Northwest Tollway and Ill. Hwy. 53 in northwest-suburban Schaumburg. The name "Woodfield" was an amalgam that combined the names of Gen. Robert E. Wood, chairman of Sears Roebuck & Co. at the time the mall was built; and Marshall Field & Co. Sears and Fields were two of the mall's original department stores.

--- Sears Tower opened with 3.6 million square feet of rentable space. The $200 million 110-story structure rises 1,455 feet into the sky.

--- The Chicago Union Stock Yards were closed and demolished.


--- John Wayne Gacy, a contractor in Chicago's northwest suburbs and part-time clown, was arrested. A search of his home and property led to the discovery of the bodies of 29 murder victims. Four others were found in the Chicago River. Gacy had been on a spree from 1972 through 1978, kidnapping, torturing and killing young men. He was found guilty in 1980 of thirty-three counts of murder, and was executed at the Stateville Correctional Center, in Joliet, in 1994.


--- Chicago's 1st (and only) woman mayor, Jane M. Byrne, took office.

--- July 12 - This was "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park. Two Chicago disk jockeys came up with the idea of having people bring unwanted disco records to the stadium to be burned between the double header between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Instead, records were sailed through the stands during the game - nearly inciting a riot. There was so much commotion that the ballplayers couldn't finish the last game of the doubleheader, causing the White Sox to forfeit the game.


--- The first Taste of Chicago was held in the summer of 1980 and was ultimately the idea of then-mayor Jane Byrne. At its inception, it was a one-day event held on the Fourth of July, along downtown Chicago's North Michigan Avenue.


--- "Spider" Dan Goodwin climbed both the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building.

--- The Chicago Tribune purchased the Chicago Cubs baseball team from the P. K. Wrigley Chewing Gum Company for $20.5 million. The sale ended the longest continuous ownership of a team that stayed in its original city (60 years.)

--- The Taste of Chicago was moved to Grant Park and was greatly expanded in size and scope, growing to a 10-day event with more food vendors, as well as musical performances.


--- August 18 - The longest baseball game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago, went 22 innings before the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Cubs 2-1. The game had started the previous day and had been postponed after 17 innings because of darkness.


--- Chicago's 1st black mayor, Harold Washington, took office.


--- Upon the death of Mayor Washington, after a meeting which lasted all night, the Chicago City Council elected Eugene Sawyer acting mayor.


--- The new main branch of the Chicago Public Library, the Harold Washington Library Center, was opened.


--- On April 13, the "Great Chicago Flood" occurred when 124 million gallons of Chicago River water poured through a crack in the forty-seven-mile network of freight tunnels under the central business district. After filling the tunnels, the river water rose into the basements of many downtown buildings, knocking out electric power and natural-gas service. The flood occurred because in September of 1991 new wooden pilings had been driven into the riverbed next to the Kinzie Street drawbridge to protect the bridge from passing barges and other traffic on the north branch of the Chicago River. The pilings had been placed in the wrong spot and punctured the ceiling of the freight tunnel below. On August 11, 1995, the city agreed to pay up to $36 million in damages to settle lawsuits brought by the owners of buildings damaged by the flood.


--- The first game and the opening ceremonies of the first World Cup Soccer championship in the United States were held in Chicago.


--- a 148-foot Ferris Wheel—recalling the 1893 original—was erected at the renovated Navy Pier.


--- The Field Museum purchased Sue, the largest, most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered.


--- In 1995, the mayor's office recommended closing Meigs Field and turning Northerly Island into 75 acres of lakefront park.

O n March 30, 2003, Mayor Daley ordered private crews to destroy the runway in the middle of the night, bulldozing large X-shaped gouges into the runway surface. The required notice was not given to the Federal Aviation Administration or the owners of airplanes tied down at the field, and as a result sixteen planes were left stranded at an airport with no operating runway.


--- the 7,500-seat Charter One Pavilion opened on Northerly Island.


--- Marshall Field's former flagship store on State Street in The Loop of downtown Chicago was officially renamed "Macy's on State Street" on September 9, 2006, and is now the flagship store of Federated Department Stores' Macy's North division and one of three national flagship locations for Macy's.


Some other facts . . .

The 4 stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.

The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.

Among the Field Museum's most prized jewels is the 5,890-carat Chalmerz topaz, which weighed 10,200 carats in the rough.

Chicago has 29 miles of lake frontage and 15 miles of public beach.

Chicago is home to the world's largest population of Poles outside of Warsaw.

Chicago is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is one of the last free zoos.

Chicago's McCormick Place has the largest amount of exhibit space of any convention center in the country at 2.2 million square feet.

Chicago's Western Avenue is the world's longest street.

The Chicago Public Library, the Harold Washington Library, is the world's largest public library with a collection of more than 2 million books.

Chicago's central water filtration plant, located on the lakefront north of Navy Pier, is the largest in the world.

Chicago's Oceanarium is the world's largest indoor marine mammal pavilion and doubles the size of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, which is the largest indoor aquarium in the world.

update: The Georgia Aquarium holds more than 8 million gallons of water to house well over 100,000 fish. It's a leap in size and capacity over the next largest aquarium -- Chicago's Shedd, which holds 5 million gallons of water to support 20,000 aquatic animals.

Georgia's $200 million building, designed to look like a ship breaking through a wave, was a gift from Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus.

The Chicago River is always dyed green on St. Patrick's Day.

The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.

The official flower of the city of Chicago is the chrysanthemum.

Lake Michigan:
more than 10,300 years old
307 miles long, 118 across at its widest point
average depth is 279 feet, maximum depth is 923 feet
contains roughly 1,350 trillion gallons of water
covers an area of 22,300 square miles

Hugh Hefner started the publication of "Playboy" at 6052 S. Harper St. in Chicago in 1953.

Jesse Owens, Frazier Thomas, "Wheaties," and Muddy Waters all have a Chicago street named in their honor.

Nabisco, the world's largest cookie and cracker factory, is located in Chicago (7300 S. Kedzie Avenue).

Stephen Douglas, who beat Abe Lincoln in debates by defending the rights of slave owners, lies buried beneath a monument to him off 35th Street at South Shore Drive in the heart of Chicago's South Side black community.

The Taste of Chicago is the world's largest free outdoor food festival. In 2006, the Taste of Chicago ran from June 30 to July 9 in Grant Park. It was the best 10-day event ever for attendance and sales. A record total of 3.6 million people had visited the festivities. Attendance for the previous record 10-day event, in 2004, was 3.59 million, with $12.33 million in revenue.

Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, has exterior walls that are embedded with authentic pieces of famous buildings including Westminster Abbey, the Alamo, Hamlet's castle, the Great Pyramid, the Taj Mahal, Fort Sumter and the Arc de Triomphe.

The world's largest ice cream cone factory, Keebler, is also located in Chicago (10839 S. Langley Avenue).



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true story of chicago's most shocking killers
Deadly Thrills: True Story of Chicago's Most Shocking Killers

murder, magic and madness at the 1893 chicago world's fair
The Devil in the White City : Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

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Chicago Then and Now

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Chicago's Loop (Then & Now)

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Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture

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City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America

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Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks

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Chicago Magazine

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Chicago's Famous Buildings

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Chicago Haunts: Ghostly Lore of the Windy City


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