Facts About Chicago

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The City of Chicago is an area of 60,000 hectares and is about 578 feet above sea level located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Chicago’s widespread parkland, which includes 3,000 hectares of city parks, attracts about 86 million visitors every year. It is the third largest city in the United States, with a population of almost 3 million people.

Fact 1:    A trader named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was the first permanent resident of Chicago. He was a free black man from Haiti, who came to the US in the late 1770’s, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn at what is now the corner of Michigan Ave and Wacker Dr, there are bronze markers in the pavement. Native Americans burned it down in 1812; it was rebuilt and then demolished in 1857.

Fact 2:    Built into a city in 1837, Chicago was perfectly situated to benefit from the trading from the nations westward expansion. In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was completed and created a water link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, but soon after the canal was made obsolete by the railroads. Today, about 50% of the United States rail freight passes through Chicago and the city is the nation’s busiest aviation center, thanks to O’Hare and Midway International Airport.

Fact 3:    They raised many of the streets five to eight feet to install an underground sewer system in 1850, and then raised the buildings, as well. But most of the buildings, streets and sidewalks were made of wood and most of them burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station at Michigan and Chicago avenues is a few of the buildings that survived the fire.

Fact 4:    Chicago quickly rebuilt the city and dumped a lot of the debris into Lake Michigan as landfill, forming the underpinnings for what are now Grant Park, Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago celebrated its comeback by holding the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, with its memorable “White City,” about 22 years later. One of the Exposition buildings was rebuilt into the Museum of Science and Industry. In 1933 and 1934, the city had another successful Century of Progress Exposition on the Northerly Island; they refused to be discouraged even by the Great Depression.

Fact 5:    After the Great Fire, tons of immigrants came to the city to take jobs in the factories and meatpacking industries. Jane Addams and her followers operated settlement houses for poor workers and their families. The Hull House Museum is located at 800 S. Halsted St.

Fact 6:    Chicago was home of the nation’s first skyscraper, the 10-story, steel-framed Home Insurance Building, it was built in 1884 at LaSalle and Adams streets and the building was demolished in 1931.

Fact 7:    Chicago was the birth place of the refrigerated rail car by Swift, mail-order retailing by Sears and Montgomery Ward, the car radio by Motorola, and the TV remote by Zenith.

Fact 8:    The largest and most extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world is located in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fact 9:    The country’s oldest public zoo, The Lincoln Park Zoo, is one of only three major zoos that are free to visit. It is estimated that 3 million people visit the zoo ever year.

Fact 10:    Chicago has some of the best cuisine, attractions and entertainment in the United States; it has several of the top 100 restaurants in the country and has one of the best orchestras in the world.

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