Chicago History & Fun Facts
About ChicagoFrom its founding forward, Chicago has been a city with a sense of its place in the world. Huge, world-affecting events like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, or the Columbian Exposition of 1893 (electric light at a mass-people event, anyone?) have pushed the city to excel even in the face of disaster. Cavernous figures loom as large as the buildings in Chicago: think Cyrus McCormick, Marshall Fields, Studs Terkel, and countless others.
From Chicago’s Navy Pier; Millennium Park; Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago’s Field Museum; Museum of Science and Industry; the towering Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and John Hancock Building, Chicago is a city that is steeped in history and offers something for everyone making it second to none.
Fun Chicago City Facts:
- The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World’s Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition. The three white stripes of the flag represent, from top to bottom, the North, West and South sides of the city. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripe represents the South Branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal.
- The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.
- Chicago is home to the world’s largest Polish population outside of Warsaw
- Chicago is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is one of the last free zoos
- Chicago city streets are all busy but Chicago’s Western Avenue is the world’s longest street
- The Harold Washington Library (Congress Parkway at State Street) is the world’s largest public library with a collection of more than two million books.
- The Chicago River is always dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day
- Hugh Hefner started the publication of "Playboy" at 6052 S. Harper St. in Chicago in 1953.
- 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.
- Chicago city festivals are huge, in fact, the Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest free outdoor food festival
- The Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune, has exterior walls that are embedded with pieces of famous buildings including Westminster Abbey, the Alamo, the Great Pyramid, the Taj Mahal, and the World Trade Centers.
- Things that were invented in Chicago include: the vacuum cleaner; skyscrapers; softball; open heart surgery; the Ferris wheel; the elevated train; the Twinkie; and more.