Sunday, May 22, 2011


City of Chicago
—  City  —
Clockwise from top: Downtown Chicago, the Chicago Theatre, the Chicago 'L', Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Field Museum, and the Willis Tower


Nickname(s): The Windy City, The Second City, Chi-Town, Hog Butcher for the World, City of Big Shoulders, The City That Works, and others found at List of nicknames for Chicago
Motto: Latin: Urbs in Horto (English: City in a Garden), Make Big Plans (Make No Small Plans), I Will
Location in the Chicago metropolitan area and Illinois
City of Chicago is located in USA
City of Chicago
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°52′55″N 87°37′40″W
Country United States
State Illinois
CountiesCook, DuPage
IncorporatedMarch 4, 1837
Named forMiami-Illinois: shikaakwa
("Wild onion")
 - TypeMayor–council
 - MayorRahm Emanuel
 - City Council
 - State House
 - State Senate
 - U.S. House
 - City234.0 sq mi (606.1 km2)
 - Land227.2 sq mi (588.4 km2)
 - Water6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)  3.0%
 - Urban2,122.8 sq mi (5,498 km2)
 - Metro10,874 sq mi (28,163.5 km2)
Elevation597 ft (182 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 - City2,695,598
 - Rank3rd US
 - Density11,864.4/sq mi (4,447.4/km2)
 - Urban8,711,000
 - Metro9,461,105
Time zoneCST (UTC−6)
 - Summer (DST)CDT (UTC−5)
Area code(s)312, 773, 872

Chicago  or /ʃɪˈkɔːɡoʊ/, local pronunciation /ʃɪˈkaːɡoʊ/) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous city in the USA, after New York City and Los Angeles. Its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland," is the 27th most populous urban agglomeration in the world and the third largest in the United States, home to an estimated 9.5 million people spread across the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second largest county in the United States by population after Los Angeles County, California.
Chicago was founded in 1833, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. Today, the city retains its status as a major hub for industry, telecommunications and infrastructure, with O'Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport, in terms of traffic movements, in the world. In 2008, the city hosted 45.6 million domestic and overseas visitors. As of 2010, Chicago's metropolitan area has the 4th largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amongst world metropolitan areas.
The city is a center for business and finance and is listed as one of the world's top ten Global Financial Centers. The World Cities Study Group atLoughborough University rated Chicago as an "alpha world city". In a 2010 survey collaboration between Foreign Policy and A.T Kearney ranking cities, Chicago ranked 6th, just after Paris and Hong Kong. The ranking assesses five dimensions: value of capital markets, diversity of human capital, international information resources, international cultural resources, and political influence. Chicago has been ranked by Forbes as the world's 5th most economically powerful city. Chicago is a stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to many influential politicians, including the currentPresident of the United States, Barack Obama.
The city's notoriety expressed in popular culture is found in novels, plays, movies, songs, various types of journals (for example, sports, entertainment, business, trade, and academic), and the news media. Chicago has numerous nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. The best known include: "Chi-town," "Windy City," "Second City," and the "City of Big Shoulders."Chicago has also been called "the most American of big cities."


During the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The 1780s saw the arrival of the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who is believed to be of African and European descent. In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over by some Native Americans in the Treaty of Greenville to the United States for a military post.
In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in the War of 1812 Battle of Fort Dearborn. The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1804 Treaty of St. Louis. The Potawatomi were eventually forcibly removed from their land following theTreaty of Chicago in 1833. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of around 200 at that time. Within seven years it would grow to a population of over 4,000. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837—the same day that Martin van Buren was inaugurated as President (succeeding Andrew Jackson).
The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as "wild onion" or "wild garlic," from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir written about the time. The wild garlic plants, Allium tricoccum, were described by LaSalle's comrade, naturalist-diarist Henri Joutel, in his journal of LaSalle's last expedition.
Chicago - State St at Madison Ave, 1897.ogv
State and Madison Streets, the busiest corner in Chicago (1897)
As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city emerged as an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States. Chicago's first railway, Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, opened in 1848, which also marked the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The canal allowed steamboats and sailing ships on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River. A flourishing economy brought residents from rural communities and immigrants abroad. Manufacturing and retail sectors became dominant among Midwestern cities, influencing the American economy, particularly in meatpacking, with the advent of the refrigerated rail car and the regional centrality of the city's Union Stock Yards.
Chicago experienced some of the fastest population growth in the world, requiring infrastructure investments. In February 1856, the Chesbrough plan for the building of Chicago's and the United States' first comprehensive sewerage system was approved by the Common Council. The project raised much of central Chicago to a new grade. While raising Chicago out of its mud and sewage, and at first improving the health of the city, the untreated sewage and industrial waste now flowed into theChicago River, thence into Lake Michigan, polluting the primary source of fresh water for the city. Chicago responded by tunneling two miles (3 km) out into Lake Michigan to newly built water cribs. In 1900, the problem of sewage was largely resolved when the city undertook a major engineering feat. The city reversed the flow of the Chicago River so that water flowed from Lake Michigan into the river, instead of the water flowing from the river into the lake. It began with the construction and improvement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and completed with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal leading to the Illinois River which joins the Mississippi River.

Artist's rendering of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed a third of the city, including the entire central business district, Chicago experienced rapid rebuilding and growth. During its rebuilding period, Chicago constructed the world's first skyscraper in 1885, using steel-skeleton construction. Labor conflicts and unrest followed, including theHaymarket affair on May 4, 1886. Concern for social problems among Chicago's lower classes led Jane Addams to be a co-founder of Hull House in 1889. Programs developed there became a model for the new field of social work. The city also invested in many large, well-landscaped municipal parks, which also included public sanitation facilities.
In the 19th century, Chicago became an important railroad center and in 1883 the standardized system of North American Time Zones was adopted by the general time convention of railway managers in Chicago. This gave the continent its uniform system for telling time.
In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition on former marshland at the present location of Jackson Park. The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered the most influential world's fair in history. The University of Chicago was founded in 1892 on the same South Side location. The term "midway" for a fair or carnival referred originally to the Midway Plaisance, a strip of park land that still runs through the University of Chicago campus and connects Washington and Jackson Parks.

20th and 21st centuries

Buildings along the sides of a river in a panorama view
The Chicago River is the south border (right) of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border (left) of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East andIllinois Center (from Lake Shore Drive's Link Bridgewith Trump International Hotel and Tower at jog in the river in the center)
The 1920s brought notoriety to Chicago as gangsters, including the notorious Al Capone, battled each other and law enforcement on the city streets during theProhibition era. Chicago had over 1,000 gangs in the 1920s.
The 1920s also saw a major expansion in industry. The availability of jobs attracted African Americans from the South. Between 1910 and 1930, the black population of Chicago increased from 44,103 to 233,903. Arriving in the hundreds of thousands during the Great Migration, the newcomers had an immense cultural impact. It was during this wave that Chicago became a center for jazz, with King Oliver leading the way.
In 1933, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was fatally wounded in Miami during a failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1933 and 1934, the city celebrated its centennial by hosting the Century of Progress International Exposition Worlds Fair. The theme of the fair was technological innovation over the century since Chicago's founding.
On December 2, 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi conducted the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project.
Mayor Richard J. Daley was elected in 1955, in the era of machine politics. Starting in the early 1960s due to blockbusting, many white residents, as in most American cities, left the city for the suburbs. Whole neighboorhoods were completely changed based on race. Structural changes in industry caused heavy losses of jobs for lower skilled workers. In 1966 James Bevel, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Albert Raby led the Chicago Open Housing Movement, which culminated in agreements between Mayor Richard J. Daley and the movement leaders. Two years later, the city hosted the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, which featured physical confrontations both inside and outside the convention hall, including full-scale riots, or in some cases police riots, in city streets. Major construction projects, including the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower, which in 1974 became the world's tallest building), University of Illinois at Chicago, McCormick Place, and O'Hare International Airport, were undertaken during Richard J. Daley's tenure. When Richard J. Daley died, Michael Anthony Bilandic served as mayor for three years. Bilandic's subsequent loss in a primary election has been attributed to the city's inability to properly plow city streets during a heavy snowstorm. In 1979, Jane Byrne, the city's first female mayor, was elected. She popularized the city as a movie location and tourist destination.
In 1983, Harold Washington became the first African American to be elected to the office of mayor, in one of the closest mayoral elections in Chicago. After Washington won the Democratic primary, racial motivations caused a few Democratic alderman and ward committeemen to back the Republican candidate Bernard Epton, who ran on the race-baiting slogan Before it's too late. Washington's term in office saw new attention given to poor and minority neighborhoods. Washington died in office of a heart attack in 1987, shortly after being elected to a second term. Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, was elected in 1989. His accomplishments included improvements to parks and creating incentives for sustainable development. After successfully standing for reelection five times and becoming Chicago's longest serving Mayor, in 2010, Richard M. Daley announced he would step down at the end of his final term in May 2011.
On February 23, 2011, former White House chief of staff and congressman Rahm Emanuel won the municipal election to succeed Daley, beating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote. Emanuel was sworn in as Mayor on May 16, 2011.



Aerial view of downtown and the North Side with beaches lining the lakeshore.
Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois at the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan. It sits on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage, connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal connects the Chicago River with the Des Plaines River, which runs to the west of the city. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect, moderating Chicago's climate; making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
When Chicago was founded in 1833, most of the early building began around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks.The overall grade of the city's central, built-up areas, is relatively consistent with the natural flatness of its overall natural geography, generally exhibiting only slight differentiation otherwise. The average land elevation is 579 ft (176 m) above sea level. The lowest points are along the lake shore at 577 ft (176 m), while the highest point, at 735 ft (224 m), is a landfill located in the Hegewisch community area on the city's far south side.
Chicago Half Marathon on Lake Shore Drive next to Burnham Park in the South Side
The Chicago Loop is the central business district but Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods. Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's lakefront. Some of the parks along the waterfront include Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park. 29 public beaches are also found along the shore. Landfill extends into portions of the lake providing space for Navy Pier, Northerly Island, the Museum Campus, and large portions of the McCormick Place Convention Center. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings can be found close to the waterfront.
An informal name for the Chicago metropolitan area is Chicagoland, used primarily by copywriters, advertising agencies, and traffic reporters. There is no precise definition for the term "Chicagoland," but it generally means the city and its suburbs together. The Chicago Tribune, which coined the term, includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, eight nearby Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee, and three counties in Indiana: Lake, Porter and LaPorte. The Illinois Department of Tourism defines Chicagoland as Cook County without the city of Chicago, and only Lake, DuPage, Kane and Will counties. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce defines it as all of Cook and DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
Chicago Harbor Lighthouse


The city lies within the humid continental climate zone, and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily average of 84.7 °F (29.3 °C). In a normal summer temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on 21 days. Winters are cold, snowy, and windy, with some sunny days, and with a January average of 23.5 °F(−4.7 °C). Temperatures often (43 days) stay below freezing for an entire day, and subzero lows occur on eight nights per year. Spring and fall are mild seasons with low humidity.
According to the National Weather Service, Chicago's highest official temperature reading of 107 °F (42 °C) was recorded on June 1, 1934 and July 11, 1936, both at Midway Airport. The lowest temperature of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded on January 20, 1985, at O'Hare Airport. The city can experience extreme winter cold spells that may last for several consecutive days.


Chicago skyline April 18, 2009 from Northerly Island looking west.

Chicago August 9, 2010 from John Hancock Center looking south.


Looking north from Wacker Drive atTrump Tower and the Wrigley Building, withJohn Hancock Center in the distance on the left side.
The outcome of the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. Perhaps the most outstanding of these events was the relocation of many of the nation's most prominent architects from New England to the city for construction of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.
In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in Chicago, ushering in the skyscraper era. Today, Chicago's skyline is among the world's tallest and most dense. The nation's two tallest buildings are both located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), and Trump International Hotel and Tower. The Loop's historic buildings include the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the Fine Arts Building, 35 East Wacker, and the Chicago Building, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe, along with many others. The Merchandise Mart, once first on the list of largest buildings in the world, and still listed as 20th with its own ZIP code, stands near the junction of the North and South branches of the Chicago River. Presently, the four tallest buildings in the city are Willis Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Aon Center (previously the Standard Oil Building), and the John Hancock Center. Industrial districts, such as on the South Side, the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Chicago Southland, and Northwest Indiana are clustered.

North Lake Shore Drive and the Gold Coast, Chicago
Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School, movements in architecture. Multiple kinds and scales of houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment buildings can be found in Chicago. Large swaths of Chicago's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. One of Chicago's suburbs, Oak Park, was home to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
One of the city's most famous thoroughfares, Western Avenue, is one of the longest urban streets in the world. Other famous streets include Belmont Avenue, Pulaski Road, and Division Street. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's Boulevards and Parkways.

City sections

A Chicago jazz club

City sections

Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods (from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south). The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These include the Mexican villages, such as Pilsen on 18th street and La Villita on 26th street, thePuerto Rican enclave Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, "Greektown" on South Halsted, "Little Italy" on Taylor Street, just west of Halsted, "Chinatown" on the near South Side, Polish fare reigns at Belmont-Central, "Little Seoul" on and around Lawrence Avenue, a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street and South Asian (Indian/Pakistani) on Devon Avenue.
Downtown is the center of Chicago's cultural, commercial and financial institutions, and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscapers. Many of the city's financial institutions (for example, CBOT, Chicago Fed) are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight block by five block square of city streets that are encircled by elevated rail tracks. The name "The Loop" is sometimes also used to refer to the entire downtown area. The central area often is portrayed, as in the map at right, to include parts of Near North Side and Near South Side, as well as the Loop. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers, shopping, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears and convention facilities. Similarly, the area just west of the Loop and the Chicago River contributes to the commercial core.
The North Side contains Lincoln Park, a 1,200-acre (490 ha) park stretching for 5.5 mi (8.9 km) along the waterfront with the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The River North neighborhood features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City. As a Polonia center, due to the city having a very large Polish population, Chicago celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in the Jefferson Park area. The Chicago Cubs play in the North Side's Wrigleyville. Two North Side neighborhoods in particular, Lakeview and the Andersonville area of the Edgewater neighborhood, are home to many LGBT businesses and organizations. The area surrounding the North Side intersections of Halsted, Belmont, and Clark is a gay district known as "Boystown."
The South Side is home to the University of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry. It also hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Day parade. Burnham Park stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are located here: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and is home of the aforementioned museum; slightly west sits Washington Park. U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Company, has an assembly plant located on the South Side. Also, most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are here. The Chicago White Sox play at 35th Street.
The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants of any US city. Prominent Latino cultural attractions found here include Humboldt Park's Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Puerto Rican Day Parade, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art and St. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the television production company of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks call the West Side home at the United Center sports arena.