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Founded: 1830; Incorporated: 1837
Location: Northeast Illinois, Lake Michigan coast, United States, North America
Motto: "I will" in Latin
Flag: Two blue stripes representing Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, and four six-pointed red stars representing events in Chicago history, all on a white field.
Flower: Violet (state flower)
Time Zone: 6 am Central Standard Time (CST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White 56.9%; Black 39.1%
Elevation: 181 m (595 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 41°88'N, 87°65'W
Coastline: 40 km (25 mi)
Climate: Continental climate; cold winters, with heavy snowfall from cold fronts off Lake Michigan, and hot summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 9.5°C (49.2°F); January-4.3°C (24.3°F); July 23.7°C (74.7°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 102 cm (40 in)
Average Annual Precipitation (total of rainfall and melted snow): 86 cm (34 in).
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 312, 630, 708, 773, 847
Postal Codes: 60601-64
Long the United States's second-largest city (now its third-largest), Chicago is the only Midwestern metropolis to rank with the great cities of the nation's east and west coasts. Its nickname, "the Windy City," though thought by many to refer to a climate influenced by the city's location on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, actually has its origin in the civic pride that has inspired its citizens to boastfulness for generations. The "City of Big Shoulders" and "Hog Butcher to the World"—in the words of poet Carl Sandburg, one of its most famous sons—Chicago has undergone important changes in the latter half of the twentieth century, most notably its population shrinkage in the face of growing suburbanization. Nevertheless, the legendary city of skyscrapers—still home to the world's tallest building—remains a vital commercial, intellectual, and cultural center.
Chicago, the seat of Cook County, is located in northeastern Illinois, on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan and at the junction of the lake and the Chicago River.
Chicago is accessible by several interstate highways. The city is approached from the northwest by I-94, which merges with the John F. Kennedy Expressway and the Dan Ryan Express-way, traversing the city north-south before turning into the Calumet Expressway heading south out of (or into) the city. To the west, I-294 rings much of the Greater Chicago area, turning into the Tri-State Tollway further south and intersecting I-290, which runs east-west, becoming the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway into the heart of the city. I-55 leads to Chicago from the southwest, turning into the Adlai E. Stevenson Expressway.
Bus and Railroad Service
Chicago is an Amtrak hub, servicing travelers from the renovated Union Station. The Greyhound station, on West Harrison Street, is slightly to the southwest of downtown.
More than 66 million passengers a year arrive at and depart from O'Hare International Airport, on more than 880,000 flights annually. Located 27 kilometers (17 miles) outside downtown Chicago, O'Hare is said to be the busiest airport in the world. As a hub for both American and United Airlines, it offers nonstop service to most major destinations in the United States, and many foreign cities as well. Also servicing the Windy City is Midway Airport.
Chicago Population Profile
Area: 591 sq km (228 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 56.9% white, 39.1% black, 3.7% Asian/Pacific Islander
Nicknames: The Windy City, The Second City, The City of Broad Shoulders
Area: 13,118 sq km (5,065 sq mi)
World population rank 1: 29
Percentage of national population 2: 2.5%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.3%
Ethnic composition: 76% white; 19.5% black; and 4.3% Asian/Pacific Islander
- The Chicago metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
- The percent of the total US population living in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Its central location and Great Lakes coastline have always made Chicago an important shipping center, especially since the 1959 opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Some 750 motor freight carriers ship over 45 million metric tons (50 million tons) of ground freight to and from the city every year; another 36 million metric tons (40 million tons) are handled by rail. More than one million metric tons (1.1 million tons) per year are shipped through Chicago's airports.
Downtown Chicago is laid out in a grid pattern, with State Street (north-south) and Madison (east-west) as the main points of reference. Lake Shore Drive borders the Lake Michigan shoreline, and Grant Park extends along much of the coast. The Chicago River, running east-west, divides the North Side from the central Loop section, and the north and south branches of the river run northwest to south, further demarcating parts of the city.
Bus and Commuter Rail Service
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs the city's bus and rail service, offering access to both Chicago and its suburbs. The CTA operates over 1,000 rapid transit, or El, cars over five rail lines whose routes are designated by different colors. The CTA also operates numerous bus routes, with most buses running at intervals of every five to 20 minutes daily and many running at night.
Several walking tours of downtown Chicago landmarks are available, including a taped, self-guided tour put together by the Chicago Office of Tourism. The Friends of the Chicago River offers walking tours along the river and boat cruises along the shoreline as well. Sightseeing tours of the downtown area are also offered on both regular and double-decker buses and open-air trolleys. In addition, a variety of tours and cruises on Lake Michigan are available.
Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, surpassed only by New York and Los Angeles. In 1990, the population of Chicago was 2,784,000, with the following racial composition: 56.9 percent white, 39.1 percent black, 3.7 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.3 percent American Indian. Hispanics (an ethnic rather than a racial designation) accounted for 19.6 percent of the population. The 1994 population estimate for Chicago was 2,732,000. The population of Chicago's Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area was estimated at 7,773,896 as of 1997. The region's racial composition was listed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1996 as 76 percent white; 19.5 percent black; and 4.3 percent Asian/Pacific Islander.
The heart of Chicago is the rectangular downtown section known as the Loop, extending southward from the Chicago River and east from its south branch, and encircled by the elevated train route with the same name. Although most of the retailers have departed from legendary State Street, the Loop is still a bustling commercial center filled with corporate and government offices. Its La Salle Street has been called "the Wall Street of the Midwest."
The South Side, the area south of the Loop, has seen considerable redevelopment. Today it is home to a number of communities, including Hyde Park, Morgan Park, and Beverly. The area to the west of the Loop has traditionally been an industrial district, although many of its businesses have relocated in recent times. It is also home to an Italian community and the site of the historic Hull House, where Nobel Prize winner Jane Addams ministered to the needs of the city's working-class poor at the turn of the century. The West Side Medical Center, with seven hospitals and two medical schools, is the largest medical complex in the world.
Chicago's North Side, to the north and northwest of the Chicago River, is a mostly residential area. The part nearest to the Loop has undergone a renaissance since the 1980s, as artists and other city trendsetters set up lofts in a former industrial and warehouse district that has drawn comparisons to New York's SoHo neighborhood. Today known as River North, it has become an increasingly upscale locale of galleries, studios, and clubs. Another successfully redeveloped area north of the Loop is North Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile, home to pricey retailers, hotels, and restaurants.
|City Fact Comparison|
|Population of urban area1||6,945,000||10,772,000||2,688,000||12,033,000|
|Date the city was founded||1830||AD 969||753 BC||723 BC|
|Daily costs to visit the city2|
|Hotel (single occupancy)||$130||$193||$172||$129|
|Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)||$44||$56||$59||$62|
|Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.)||$26||$14||$15||$16|
|Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals)||176||$173||$246||$207|
|Number of newspapers serving the city||5||13||20||11|
|Largest newspaper||Chicago Tribune||Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar||La Repubblica||Renmin Ribao|
|Circulation of largest newspaper||673,508||1,159,450||754,930||3,000,000|
|Date largest newspaper was established||1847||1944||1976||1948|
|1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.|
|2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.|
|3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.|
A less heartening part of Chicago's North Side is the Cabrini-Green public housing project to the northwest of the River North district. Further to the north of the city, beginning with the Mid-North Side to the west of shore-front Lincoln Park, are upscale residential neighborhoods, including Edgebrook and Sauganash. To the southeast is an industrial area traversed by the Chicago skyway. To the southwest are Bridgeport and Chinatown.
Chicago is the center of an eight-county metropolitan area extending about 65 kilometers (40 or so miles) from the city, to the north, west, and south. Its suburbs include such wealthy communities as Oak Park, Evanston, Skokie, and Lake Forest. Some nearby towns in Indiana, including Gary and Hammond, have also become de facto suburbs of Chicago.
The first Europeans to arrive at the site of present-day Chicago were French explorer Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette in 1673. Over a century later, in 1783, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable became the first permanent resident of European descent in the area when he established a fur-trading post there. Early in its history, the settlement endured the massacre of 53 Americans when 500 Potawatomi warriors stormed Fort Dearborn, which had been built to protect the settlers, during the War of 1812. (The fort was rebuilt by 1816.) The first major spur to the growth of the town was the building of the Illinois & Michigan Canal linking the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River basin. Planned in 1830, the canal wasn't completed until 1848, although a speculative land boom was already underway in the 1830s, and the population surged upward. The city was incorporated and held its first mayoral election in 1837.
By 1848, when the canal was completed, the first railroad arrived in the city, and Chicago became the rail hub of the growing nation and a marketing center for farm produce and livestock, as well as the center of the meatpacking industry and home to the country's first financial exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade. By mid-century, the arrival of Irish, German, and Scandinavian immigrants was providing a labor force to spur the growth in industry, and the Irish established one of the city's first ethnic communities in Bridgeport. The city's population grew from 4,470 in 1840 to 28,000 in 1850, and then to 110,000 by the following decade. By 1890 it passed the one-million mark to become the nation's second-largest metropolis after New York.
In 1860 Chicago hosted the Republican Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for the presidency, and the city played a vital role in the Civil War by serving as the primary supplier of beef to the Union soldiers. In the postwar era, Chicago became the country's major lumber market as well as its grain-handling capital, as well as a manufacturing center for farm machinery. While the city's upper classes enjoyed unprecedented wealth, its thousands of working-class residents suffered the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions common to the urban poor of the industrial age. Jane Addams's Hull House became famous for its efforts to improve conditions for immigrant tenement dwellers on the city's West Side. Eventually sanitary conditions became so lethal that the course of the Chicago River was reversed at the turn of the century to keep its sewage-and industrial waste-laden waters from further polluting Lake Michigan and to end recurring outbreaks of waterborne infectious diseases.
Although the Great Fire of October 8, 1871, devastated the city, killing between 250 and 300 people and destroying more than 17,000 buildings, Chicago's economic base—its stockyards, freight yards, and industrial area—were spared, enabling the city to rebuild rapidly. Much of the city was restored within a year, and Chicago continued to grow. In 1893, in the face of a nationwide economic depression, the city hosted the World's Columbian Exposition, which attracted some 21 million visitors. The 1890s was also the decade when Chicago became famous as the home of a new form of architecture that was to transform America's urban landscape—the skyscraper. During this period, the city's wealth also financed the creation of major cultural institutions such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Art Institute.
By the late nineteenth century, Chicago was already notorious for its political corruption, and reform efforts were implemented by the 1890s. However, the city reputation as the vice capital of the nation was renewed with the rise of mobsters Al Capone, John Dillinger, and their cohorts in the 1920s and 1930s. Chicagoans suffered keenly from the Great Depression but, like other areas of the country, recovered during World War II (1939–1945), becoming one of the nation's top centers for defense-related production, as well as the site of its first controlled nuclear reaction, overseen by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago in 1942.
A major development of the post-war era has been the suburbanization of the city, whose population, which accounted for roughly two-thirds of the metropolitan area in 1950, shrank to only one-third by 1990, and Los Angeles replaced Chicago as the nation's second most populous city. Chicago's racial balance has also changed during this period, with blacks becoming the major ethnic group in an increasingly segregated city, and suburban sprawl has replaced formerly populated areas in the heart of the city with teeming expressways.
The first postwar decades were the Daley era (1955–1976), when Mayor Richard J. Daley oversaw a period of robust expansion and modernization that included the construction of O'Hare International Airport and the world's tallest building, the Sears Tower. However, it was also during the Daley years that the disturbances at the 1968 Democratic convention etched themselves indelibly on the consciousness of the nation. Since then Chicago has had a woman mayor (Jane Byrne, 1979–1983) and its first black mayor (Harold Washington, 1983–1987), as well as its first female black senator (Carol Moseley-Braun, 1992–). The Daley name regained its prominence in city politics in the 1990s with the election of Richard M. Daley to the post of mayor.
Chicago's municipal government operates under a 1971 charter, providing for a mayor-council form of government. The city's mayor and the 50 alderman who make up the council are all elected for four-year terms.
The Chicago Police Department is the second-largest municipal police force in the United States. In 1997 the department employed 13,466 sworn officers, 2,060 civilian employees, as well as 1,000 crossing guards. In 1995, violent crimes reported to police (per 100,000 population) included 30 murders, 1,094 robberies, and 1,426 aggravated assaults. Property crimes totaled 7,198 and included 1,463 burglaries, 4,418 cases of larceny/theft, and 1,316 motor vehicle thefts.
Chicago has long been one of the country's major manufacturing and distribution centers. Important manufacturing industries include steel, telecommunications equipment, automobile accessories, agricultural equipment, scientific instruments, diesel engines, consumer electronics, paint, and food products. The city's central location, inland port, and rail accessibility made it a major market for Midwest farmers by the nineteenth century, and it remains a significant transport center today. Retailing is another dominant sector in the economy of Chicago, which is home to thousands of wholesalers and retailers, including such retail giants as Sears, Marshall Field, and Montgomery Ward.
Home to the Midwest Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade (the nation's oldest financial exchange), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago is one of the top financial centers in the United States. Its LaSalle Street is considered the Wall Street of the Midwest. The city is also a publishing powerhouse, ranked second only to New York, and a leader in industrial research and biotechnology. Chicago's largest employers include Jewel Food Stores, Motorola, Advocate Health Care, Ameritech, and First Chicago Corporation.
Two bodies of water have been central to the history and development of the city of Chicago—the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, the third largest of the Great Lakes and the only one completely within the United States. The southwestern shore borders an urban area that includes not only Chicago, but also Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Gary, Indiana. The concentration of industrialization has led to growing pollution problems.
The Chicago River formerly flowed into Lake Michigan, but its course was reversed, because of pollution, in 1900. In the waning years of the twentieth century, significant efforts were made to clean up the river, which had suffered from the effects of unhampered industrialization since the nineteenth century. The Chicago River became a repository of refuse from the slaughterhouse industry and other forms of industrial pollution. By 1999, over 50 species of fish—including salmon, carp, and perch—returned to the river's waters, and the Friends of the Chicago River began to lead walking tours along the riverfront.
Encircling the city along its northern, western and southern boundaries, the Cook County Forest Preserves cover 66,746 acres, providing woodlands, open spaces, and recreational facilities. About five percent of the preserves belong to the Illinois Nature Preserve system, which protects the natural habitats of endangered species and other animals.
Although many of the major retailers have left Chicago's central Loop district, the city still offers abundant and varied shopping outlets. Today its premier shopping area is the "Magnificent Mile" on North Michigan Avenue, stretching north of the Chicago River to Oak Street. Its multi-story shopping complexes boast such top-notch department stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman-Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and Marshall Field's, as well as upscale retailers including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Cartier, Brooks Brothers, and Gucci. Further north is the Armitage-Halsted-Webster shopping area. In contrast to the exclusive shops found in these shopping districts, Chicago is also the home of the world's largest wholesale store, Merchandise Mart on North Orleans Street. The waterfront North Pier Mall offers a shopping complex in a renovated warehouse. Another interesting shopping district is the Andersonville area on the North Side, whose specialty stores include a feminist bookstore (Women and Children First), an apothecary shop stocked with fragrances and other personal-care products, a store featuring American-made crafts, a Swedish bakery, and a canine deli bakery (Fido's Food Fair).
As of 1995, 84 percent of Chicago metropolitan area residents had completed high school; 31 percent of males and 26 percent of females had completed a bachelor's degree.
The Chicago Public Schools District, the state's largest, operated 567 schools in the fall of 1996 when it enrolled 408,201 students. Close to 90 percent were minority students, mostly black (54 percent) and Hispanic (32 percent). The system employed 23,433 teachers, with a pupil/teacher ratio of 20 to one; support staff totaled 27,827. The school district has won national attention for its Stephen Decatur Classical School, an elementary school for gifted students, and also operates the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, which is located on a farm within the city boundaries. Chicago also has over 200 parochial schools and more than 100 secular private schools.
The University of Chicago, founded in 1891 and endowed by John D. Rockefeller, has a national reputation for excellence, in both the sciences and the humanities. Its research facilities include the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Argonne National Laboratory. The University of Illinois at Chicago offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees to some 25,000 students. Chicago is also home to three Catholic universities: DePaul, Loyola, and Saint Xavier. The city has a variety of other institutions of higher learning, including Chicago City-Wide Colleges, Roosevelt University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Vandercook College of Music, and the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago.
13. Health Care
Chicago—the site of prime-time television's most famous medical drama of the 1990s, ER— is also a top health-care center in real life. The city has a total of more than 60 hospitals. Its University of Chicago Hospitals are renowned both for their treatment and research facilities. Among these facilities are Wyler Children's Hospital, Chicago Lying-in Hospital, and Bernard Mitchell Hospital. In 1998 the hospital system logged 23,470 admissions and 428,396 outpatient visits and employed 1,593 people. Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center is affiliated with Rush Medical College and Rush School Nursing. The Chicago area's major public health facility is Cook County Hospital. Other hospitals include Chicago Memorial Hospital, Edgewater Hospital, Grant Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Roseland Community Hospital, South Chicago Community hospital, and Weiss Memorial Hospital.
Chicago has two major daily newspapers, both published in the morning—the Chicago Tribune (daily circulation 584,097, Sundays 1,019,458) and the Chicago Sun-Times (daily circulation 332,047, Sundays 411,334). The Chicago Daily Defender is a well-known daily newspaper serving the black community, and there are many more newspapers published for the city's various racial and ethnic populations. Crain's Chicago Business is produced by the Crain media chain; The Reader is an alternative weekly that circulates primarily on the North Side, and Streetwise is published for the benefit of Chicago's homeless. Chicago Monthly magazine contains feature articles and dining and entertainment information, and the bimonthly Chicago Life also covers the metropolitan area.
In addition to local publications, Chicago—as one of the country's major publishing centers—is the source of hundreds of nationally distributed newspapers and magazines, including Ebony, American Libraries, and Jet, as well as a number of scholarly journals published at the University of Chicago.
All the major television networks have affiliated stations in Chicago, which has a total of about 20 commercial, public television, and cable stations, as well as some 60 am and FM radio stations. A major regional broadcast center, Chicago is also home to the Oprah Winfrey show and to Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions.
Chicago's long history as an avid sports town had its nadir in baseball's infamous "Black Sox" scandal of 1919, when members of the White Sox baseball team were bribed to lose the World Series championship, and its crowning glory in the 1990s, when superstar Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in eight years under the stewardship of coach Phil Jackson. Chicago is also home to two major-league baseball teams—the National League's Chicago Cubs, who play at Wrigley Field, and the American League's White Sox, whose home games take place at Comiskey Park. The Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) play at Soldier Field, and Chicago is also home to the Chicago Black Hawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Horse racing takes place at Arlington International Racecourse, Balmoral Park Racetrack, Hawthorne Downs Racetrack, Maywood Park Racetrack, and other venues, and auto racing can be seen at the Santa Fe Speedway.
Chicago has 2,954 hectares (7,300 acres) of parkland. Its largest and best-known park is Grant Park, extending along Lake Michigan at the city's eastern edge, and encompassing within its boundaries Soldier Field, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Field Museum of Natural History. The second-largest park is the 242-hectare (598-acre) lakefront Burnham Park. Of Chicago's inland parks, the largest is Washington Park. Lincoln Park, on the North Side, extends from Lake Michigan to Clark Street.
In addition to parks located within city limits, Chicagoans also enjoy the Cook County Forest Preserves that ring the city, offering open space, as well as 13 golf courses and driving ranges, swimming pools, bicycle paths, picnic areas, and over 30 fishing lakes and ponds.
The Shedd Aquarium's 170,000-square-foot Oceanarium is the world's largest indoor marine mammal exhibit. One of the last free zoos in the United States, the privately managed Lincoln Park Zoo houses over 1,000 animals and receives support from the Chicago Park District.
Chicago has over 24 kilometers (15 miles) of swimming beaches and 29 kilometers (18 miles) of lakefront bicycle paths. Other popular participant sports include canoeing, fishing, golf, tennis, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and toboganning.
17. Performing Arts
Chicago is renowned for its theater tradition. Stage performances draw around three million attendees annually. Among the two best-known theatrical organizations in the city are the Goodman Theater, its oldest resident troupe; Steppenwolf Theater Company, associated with playwright David Mamet; and the famed improvisational group Second City, training ground for many talented comic performers who have since gone on to achieve nationwide success in film and television. Other theater groups include the Court Theatre, the Pegasus Players, Victory Gardens, and Wisdom Bridge. Touring performances of Broadway productions can be seen at the Schubert Theatre.
The Chicago Symphony, one of the best in the nation, performs from fall through spring at Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue and at the Ravinia Festival on the North Shore in the summer months. Chicago has two opera companies, Lyric Opera of Chicago, which performs operas in their original languages with supertitles displayed above the stage, and Chicago Opera Theater, which performs in English. Chicago's resident ballet troupe is Ballet Chicago, founded in 1988. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago stages contemporary dance performances.
Known as "the Blues Capital of the World," Chicago has been a prime venue for blues clubs and performers since the 1930s, and this tradition is vibrantly renewed every spring at the lakefront Chicago Blues Festival, which draws crowds of as many as 400,000 during its three days.
Founded in 1872, the Chicago Public Library serves over two-and-a-half million people, with an annual circulation of 8,305,158. Its book holdings total nearly six-and-a-half million volumes while its non-book holdings comprise some four-and-a-half million items. The library operates the central Harold Washington Library Center, 77 neighborhood branches, and two regional libraries. Special collections include the Chicago Theater Collection, the Chicago Blues Archives, an early American newspaper collection, and many others. Besides its public library, Chicago is also home to a number of university and government libraries, as well as private libraries run by historical and cultural societies, private corporations, medical facilities, and other groups. The main library of the University of Chicago, serving some 10,000 students and over 1,000 faculty members, maintains a collection of over six million books, more than 20,000 compact disks, and other materials. The university's libraries house special collections in modern poetry, anatomical illustration, English Bibles, and numerous other areas. The university's Newberry Library also houses a well-known research collection.
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the country's premier art museums. It houses more than 300,000 artworks, cared for by ten curatorial departments. It has one of the world's great collections of Impressionist art, as well as outstanding collections of twentieth-century art and Japanese woodblock prints. Its print and drawing collections is also one of the nation's finest. With a collection of over 16 million items, the Field Museum of Natural History ranks as one of the world's great natural history museums. Chicago has over 40 other museums of all kinds, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography; Chicago Academy of Sciences, featuring lively inter-active exhibits; the hands-on Chicago Children's Museum; the Chicago Historical Society museum; the International Museum of Surgical Sciences; the May Weber Museum of Cultural Arts, which displays folk art from many countries; the Museum of Broadcast Communications; and the Museum of Science and Industry. Among the city's many museums dedicated to the heritage of specific racial and ethnic groups are the Du Sable Museum of African American History, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, the Spertus Museum of Judaica, the Swedish American Museum Center, and the Ukrainian National Museum.
Chicago is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors. In 1995 approximately two-and-a-half million foreign travelers visited the city, ranking it ninth nationally in this category. In August 1999, the city expected to attract $192.7 million in convention business.
Chicago Boat, Sports, and RV Show
Chicago Auto Show
Chinese New Year Parade
Navy Pier County Fair
3 on 3 Basketball Tournament
Azalea and Camellia Show
Chicago Flower and Garden Show
Maple Syrup Festival
St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Fireworks
South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade
Chicago Latino Festival
Wright Plus House Walk
Printer's Row Book Fair
Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago Country Music Festival
Chicago Gospel Festival
57th Street Air Fair
Boulevard-Lakefront Bicycle Tour
Mid-June to mid-August
Grant Park Music Festival
Late June-early July
Taste of Chicago
Fiesta de Hemingway
Lakefront fireworks (July 3)
Chicago to Mackinac Island Boat Race
World's Largest Block Party
Newberry Library Book Fair
Chicago Air & Water Show
Latin Music Festival
Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago International Film Festival
LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon
Ski Snowmobile & Winter Sports Show
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Chicago Park District Winter Festival Flower Show
21. Famous Citizens
Famous citizens who were born in Chicago include:
Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902–1976).
Hillary Rodham Clinton (b. 1947), First Lady of the United States.
Jesse Jackson (b. 1941), African-American civil rights leader.
Walter Elias (Walt) Disney (1901–1966), animator and filmmaker.
Jack Benny (1894–1974), comedian.
Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize-winning author.
John Dos Passos (1896–1970), author.
Jane Addams (1860–1935), founder of Hull House.
Benny Goodman (1909–1986), clarinetist.
David Mamet (b. 1947), playwright.
Michael Jordan (b. 1963), basketball superstar.
Chicago City Net. [Online] Available http://www.city.net/countries/united_states/illinois/chicago. (accessed October 11, 1999).
Chicago City Page. [Online] Available http://www.chicago.thelinks.com (accessed October 11, 1999).
Chicago Home Page. [Online] Available http://www.city-life.com/chicago. (accessed October 11, 1999).
City Insights Chicago. [Online] Available http://www.cityinsights.com/chicago.htm. (accessed October 11, 1999).
Chicago City Hall
121 N. La Salle St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Chicago Office of Tourism
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
121 N. La Salle St. Rm. 507
Chicago, IL 60602
Tourist and Convention Bureaus
Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau
2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60616
500 N. Dearborn Ave. Suite 1200
Chicago, IL 60610
401 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Crain's Chicago Business
740 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
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Miller, Ross. American Apocolypse: The Great Fire and the Myth of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Rowe, Mike. Chicago Blues: The City and the Music. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975.
Royko, Mike. Boss: Richard J. Daley and His Era. Chicago: Dutton, 1971.
Saliga, Pauline A., ed. The Sky's the Limit: A Century of Chicago Skyscrapers. New York: Rizzoli, 1990.
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"Chicago." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cities. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago
"Chicago." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cities. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago
Chicago is an ethnically diverse, architecturally important, and culturally rich city. It can be appreciated from the observation floor of the Sears Tower, at 110 stories the third-tallest manmade structure in the world. In fact, three of the world's 10 tallest buildings are located in Chicago, along with the tallest apartment building, the largest hotel, the largest commercial structure, and the largest post office. Guided sightseeing tours are available for viewing the city's architecture, finance and business districts, ethnic neighborhoods, cultural institutions, and even gangland sites from the Prohibition Era.
The distinctive Chicago School of Architecture, with its aesthetic credo, "form follows function," was shaped by such masters as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and a later functionalist architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—all of whom designed buildings in the city and produced in Chicago a veritable living architectural museum. Also important are the city's outdoor sculpture and art works. Pablo Picasso's gift to Chicago, a 50-foot-tall sculpture of rusted steel at the Civic Center Plaza, has become a symbol of the city's modernity. Other works include Claes Oldenburg's Batcolumn, Alexander Calder's 53-foot-high red Flamingo stabile, Marc Chagall's Four Seasons mosaic, Louise Nevelson's Dawn Shadow, Joan Miro's Chicago, and Jean Dubuffet's Monument with Standing Beast.
The Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest indoor aquarium, cares for more than 21,000 aquatic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and fishes. A major attraction is the Oceanarium, the world's largest indoor marine mammal pavilion, featuring beluga whales, dolphins, Alaskan sea otters, seals, and penguins. In 2003 the aquarium unveiled its Wild Reef shark exhibit. Next to the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum sits on a peninsula that juts a half-mile into Lake Michigan. The Museum of Science and Industry, founded in 1933, houses thousands of exhibits, including the Idea Factory and Omnimax Theatre; a full-scale, working coal mine, a WWII captured German submarine, a Boeing 727 airplane that visitors can walk through, and a walk-though model of a human heart. It was the first museum in North America to feature the concept of hands-on exhibits. The Chicago area's two zoos are the Brookfield Zoo and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Just north of the city, the Chicago Botanic Garden features an international collection of flora on 385 acres.
Arts and Culture
Chicago's major cultural institutions rank with the best in the world. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays a season of more than 100 concerts at Orchestra Hall from September to June and performs summer concerts at Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Equally prestigious is the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which stages classical and innovative operas at the recently renovated Civic Opera House.
Other musical offerings range from Dixieland jazz imported by the late Louis Armstrong to the electrified urban blues sound pioneered by Muddy Waters, frequently referred to as Chicago Blues. All-night jazz and blues clubs are a Chicago tradition. The Ravinia Festival is a summer season of outstanding classical, popular, and jazz concerts performed by well-known artists.
More than 50 producing theaters delight Chicago audiences with fare ranging from serious to satirical. The Goodman Theatre, Chicago's oldest and largest non-profit professional theater, presents a season of classical and modern dramatic productions. Chicago theater is perhaps best represented by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, a Tony Award-winning repertory company that focuses on new plays, neglected works, and re-interpretations of masterpieces. Since 1959, The Second City, a resident comedy company that produces biting satires, has had a direct influence on American comedy as its members have gone on to star on the "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV" television programs and in Hollywood movies. Chicago's historic and architecturally significant theater houses include the restored 1920's Chicago Theatre, Shubert Theatre, and Auditorium Theatre, built by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in 1889. Chicago's active theater scene includes young companies such as the Lookingglass Theatre Company and dinner theater groups. There are also several dance companies in the city, including the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago is another local institution with an international reputation. Its collection is recognized for French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and for comprehensive holdings of American arts and photographs. The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum is the first Mexican museum in the United States and the only Latino museum accredited by the American Association of Museums; galleries of Polish, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean art have opened in the city as well. The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum houses a permanent collection of more than 500 pieces focusing on war from the soldiers' perspective. Chicago's love of art is even evidenced in the Loop's parking garage, where famous paintings are reproduced.
The Field Museum of Natural History, founded in 1893, is rated among the top museums in the world; its holdings number more than 16 million artifacts and specimens from the fields of anthropology, botany, geology, and zoology. A scientific research institution, the Field Museum examines life and culture from pre-history to the present time.
The Chicago Academy of Sciences, founded in 1857, was Chicago's first museum and features natural science exhibits as well as timely scientific displays. Among the special attractions are life-size dioramas on natural areas of the Great Lakes and the children's gallery with its lifelike animated dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. The Academy's Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum features 73,000 square feet of interactive, environmental education. The city's oldest cultural institution is the Chicago Historical Society; its galleries are filled with folk art, furniture, costumes, and manuscripts and a unique audiovisual presentation of the Great Chicago Fire. The DuSable Museum is the nation's first museum dedicated to preserving, displaying, and interpreting the culture, history, and achievements of African Americans. The Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the largest of its kind in the country at 151,000 square feet, focuses on contemporary works that are often risk-taking and controversial. Its permanent collection includes works by Christo, Rene Magritte, and Andy Warhol, and at the Chicago Cultural Center, where admission is free, visitors can see the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome; the center houses the Museum of Broadcast Communications and hosts free daily concerts, films, lectures, and dance performances. The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center presents hundreds of free programs, concerts, and exhibitions annually.
Arts and Culture Information: Chicago Fine Arts Exchange, telephone (312)850-2787. Chicago Dance and Music Alliance, telephone (312)987-9296
Festivals and Holidays
The Mayor's Office of Special Events, The Chicago Park District, and the city's major cultural institutions sponsor events throughout the year, but special summer programming is designed to tap into Chicago's heritage and to attract tourists. The Chicago Blues Festival takes place the second weekend in June at the Petrillo Music Shell and brings the best blues musicians to one of the world's blues capitals for concerts, food, and exchange of memorabilia. The Printers Row Book Fair, in June, is the largest free literary event in the Midwest. Taste of Chicago, held over two weeks in late June and early July, features food sampling from Chicago restaurants as well as entertainment in Grant Park. Viva Chicago, held in August-September, is a festival celebrating Latino music, food, and arts and crafts at the Petrillo Music Shell. Other music festivals held annually in Chicago include Chicago Gospel Festival (June), Chicago Country Music Festival (June-July), Chicago Jazz Festival (August-September), Celtic Festival Chicago (September), and World Music Fest Chicago (September-October). Mayor Daley's Holiday Sports Festival is held in December. October's Chicago International Film Festival is one of the largest in the country.
Chicago's city parks offer a wealth of free activities in the summer, such as the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra's four weekly concerts at the nation's largest free symphonic music festival.
Festivals Information: Mayor's Office of Special Events, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 703, Chicago, IL 60602; telephone (312)744-3315
Sports for the Spectator
Chicago fields at least one team in each of the major professional sports and is one of the only cities in the United States with two professional baseball teams in the Major League Baseball Association. The Chicago Cubs compete in the central division of the National League and play their home games at Wrigley Field, a turn-of-the-century steel and concrete structure where seats are close to the field. The Chicago White Sox of the American League's central division play their home games at U.S. Cellular Field on the city's South Side. The teams—and their fans—enjoy a fierce rivalry. The Chicago Bears of the National Football League's National Conference compete in central division home games at the recently renovated Soldier Field. The Chicago Fire, Chicago's Major League Soccer franchise, also play at Soldier Field. The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association play their home schedules at the United Center.
Auto racing fans can view competition at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, while horse racing action takes place from July to November at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney/Cicero.
Sports for the Participant
The Chicago Park District maintains some 552 parks spread out over 7,300 acres, including Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Jackson Park, and Washington Park. Chicago's paved lakefront pathway stretches along the shore from the south side of the city to the north side; thousands of Chicago residents and visitors use the path daily for cycling, strolling, running, in-line skating, and even commuting from one end of the city to the other. Located in the metropolitan area are forest preserves, six golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and lagoons, 29 beaches, and more than 1,000 athletic fields. In the summertime Chicago becomes the country's largest beach town as sun fanciers flock to 29 miles of lakefront beaches and yacht clubs to enjoy watersports. Lake Michigan, once one of the most industrially abused regions of the Great Lakes, has experienced a remarkable environmental recovery. The fishing season on Lake Michigan runs year round, while the lake's boating season generally extends from May 15 to October 15; the Park District maintains jurisdiction over the city's nine harbors.
A major attraction is the annual Chicago to Mackinac Island (Michigan) sailboat race, during which participants sail the length of Lake Michigan. Chicago boasts two golf courses built atop a former solid-waste dump. The prize-winning environmental engineering project, called Harborside International Golf Center, is only 16 minutes from downtown Chicago.
The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, started in 1977 as the Mayor Daley Marathon, has become one of the most prestigious—and largest—marathon events in the world. Held each October, nearly 40,000 elite and recreational runners complete the 26.2 mile race that begins and ends at Grant Park. Hundreds of thousands of spectators line the course, which passes through the downtown Loop and many of the city's ethnic neighborhoods. Due to its fast, flat course, several world records have been set at the Chicago Marathon.
Shopping and Dining
Chicago's commercial district, formerly confined to the area known as The Loop, which was defined by a circuit of elevated trains, now pushes north of the Chicago River to Oak Street. Known as the "Magnificent Mile," the shopping area is considered the Rodeo Drive of the Midwest. Here, in and around buildings of architectural interest, are located some of the world's finest specialty stores. Water Tower Place on North Michigan is a seven-level modern shopping emporium with Chicago-based Marshall Field's and Lord & Taylor. A block away, Chicago Place, an eight-level mall, is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and houses Talbots, Ann Taylor, and Chiaroscuro. American Girl Place is a popular destination for young girls and their parents, where they can purchase American Girl dolls and accessories, have tea in the café, or view a show in the American Girl Theater. At 900 North Michigan Shops are Blooming-dale's, Coach, Gucci, and teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. On nearby Oak Street one can find designs from Paris, Milan, and New York. North of the bustling Michigan Avenue shopping area is the Armitage-Halsted-Webster shopping area, with upscale restaurants and shops. Newly refurbished State Street, located downtown, offers a seven-block shopping experience at such landmarks as Carson Pirie Scott & Company and the flagship Marshall Field's.
Downtown Chicago features a remarkable diversity of bookstores, ranging from the Afrocentric Bookstore to The Savvy Traveler. Book lovers might like to pick up a copy of the Greater Loop Book District's pamphlet, showing the location of more than 20 bookstores in the Loop. It is available at airports, bookstores, and all visitor information centers.
On the waterfront, Navy Pier offers more than 50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, restaurants, and entertainment in a renovated warehouse. On North Orleans Street are the Merchandise Mart, the world's largest wholesale center, and the Chicago Apparel Center.
Chicago is served by some of the nation's finest restaurants. Every type of cuisine, from ethnic to traditional American fare, is available at restaurants in metropolitan Chicago. The city's eateries, housed in elegant turn-of-the century hotels, modern chrome and glass structures, and neighborhood cafes, are recognized for consistently high quality. Among Chicago's most renowned restaurants are Ambria, Benkay, Charlie Trotter's, The Dining Room (Ritz-Carlton Hotel), Entre Nous (Fairmont Hotel), Frontera Grill, Gordon, Jackie's, La Tour (Park Hyatt), Nick's Fish Market, Restaurant Suntory, Seasons (Four Seasons Hotel), and Yoshi's Cafe. Once known as the city of steak houses by the dozens, Chicago's superior steak restaurants now include Morton's of Chicago, Gibsons Steakhouse, the Palm Restaurant, Eli's The Place for Steak, Chicago Chop House, and The Saloon. The deep-dish style of pizza originated in Chicago.
Visitor Information: Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, 2301 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60616; telephone (312)567-8500. Chicago Office of Tourism, telephone (312)744-2400. Visitor Information Centers are located at the Chicago Cultural Center and Chicago Water Works.
"Chicago: Recreation." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-recreation
"Chicago: Recreation." Cities of the United States. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-recreation
Chicago (city, United States)
Chicago (shĬkä´gō, shĬkô´gō), city (1990 pop. 2,783,726), seat of Cook co., NE Ill., on Lake Michigan; inc. 1837. The third largest city in the United States and the heart of a metropolitan area of over 8 million people, it is the commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural center for a vast region and a midcontinental shipping point. A major Great Lakes port, it is also an historic rail and highway hub. O'Hare International Airport is the second busiest in the nation. An enormous variety of goods are manufactured in the area. Despite an overall decline in industry, Chicago has retained large grain mills and elevators, iron- and steelworks, steel fabricators, and meatpacking, food-processing, chemical, machinery, and electronics plants. The city has long been a publishing center; the Chicago Tribune is among the most widely read newspapers in the country.
Chicago covers over 200 sq mi (520 sq km); it extends more than 20 mi (32 km) along the lakefront, then sprawls inland to the west. Its metropolitan area stretches in the north to the Wisconsin border and in the south to industrial suburbs on and beyond the Indiana border. In addition to its noted expressways and boulevards, Chicago has a system of elevated (partly underground) railways that extend into the heart of the city, making a huge rectangle, the celebrated Loop, which gives its name to the downtown section.
Neighborhoods and Points of Interest
In or near the center of the city are the Merchandise Mart, the world's largest commercial building; the Chicago Public Library, with the Harold Washington Library Center downtown as well as neighborhood and traveling branches; the Chicago Board of Trade building; and the homes of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Civic Opera. La Salle Street is the financial center. On the lakefront, which has many beaches, are Grant Park, with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Natural History Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Buckingham Memorial Fountain, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium; and Millennium Park, with the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (designed by Frank Gehry). Nearby is Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears (National Football League). To the north is the Navy Pier recreation and entertainment complex (opened 1995) and along Michigan Avenue lies the "magnificent mile," Chicago's famous shopping district.
In the residential district to the north lies Lincoln Park, with the Chicago Historical Society building, the Chicago Academy of Sciences, a zoological garden, and a conservatory; sculpture in the park includes the noted standing figure of Abraham Lincoln (1887) by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the John P. Altgeld memorial monument (1915) by Gutzon Borglum. The North Side is also the site of Wrigley Field, the home of the National League Cubs, one of Chicago's two major league baseball teams.
The American League's White Sox play on the South Side at U.S. Cellular Field. The South Side of Chicago also is the seat of the Univ. of Chicago, with its imposing Gothic buildings; the John Crerar Library of scientific books is there. Nearby is Jackson Park, with the Museum of Science and Industry. Much of the South Side, however, comprises poor and working-class residential areas, including the homes of the nation's largest African-American population. There, also, were the Union Stock Yards (founded 1865 and closed in the 1970s). Toward the southern edge of the city is Pullman, a neighborhood originally developed as a model industrial town by George M. Pullman; the once-enormous iron- and steelworks were also in the area.
The vast West Side is usually spoken of as a region of nationalities because of the many groups living there, in close proximity yet more or less separate culturally. These neighborhoods grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th cent. In the West Side and the suburbs to the west are large industrial areas and two well-known parks—Garfield Park, with its noted conservatory, and Humboldt Park. The west is famous for Hull House, the settlement house founded (1889) by Jane Addams. In 1961 the Hull House location, part of an urban renewal project, was selected as the site of the Chicago campus of the Univ. of Illinois.
Other points of interest in Chicago are McCormick Place, the mammoth convention and exhibition center on the lakefront; the Auditorium, designed by Louis H. Sullivan; St. Patrick's Church (dedicated 1856); and a water tower that survived the great fire of 1871. Besides the Univ. of Chicago, the city's institutions include De Paul Univ., Northeastern Illinois Univ., Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola Univ. of Chicago, Mundelein College, Roosevelt Univ., St. Xavier College, Chicago State Univ., Columbia College, North Park College, parts of Northwestern Univ., and the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago (including the medical center). There are a number of theological seminaries, and schools of music, art, and law. The noted Newberry Library and the Library of International Relations are in Chicago, and the city has a vibrant theatrical community. The city's other major sports teams are the Bulls (basketball) and Blackhawks (hockey).
From the Early Days to 1850
Notable as dividing lines in the city are the two branches of the Chicago River. In early days the river was important because the narrow watershed between it and the Des Plaines River (draining into the Mississippi through the Illinois River) offered an easy portage that led explorers, fur traders, and missionaries from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains. Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived here in 1673, and the spot was well known for a century before Jean Baptiste Point Sable (or Point DuSable or Point de Sable), a black man possibly of Haitian origin, set up a trading post at the mouth of the river. John Kinzie, who succeeded him as a trader, is usually called the father of Chicago.
A military post, Fort Dearborn, was established in 1803. In the War of 1812 its garrison perished in one of the most famous tragedies of Western history. Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1816, and the construction of the Erie Canal in the next decade speeded the settling of the Midwest and the growth of Chicago. Harbor improvements, lake traffic, and the peopling of the prairie farmlands brought prosperity to the city. The Illinois and Michigan Canal, however, authorized by Congress in 1827 and completed in 1848, was soon rendered virtually obsolete by the arrival of railroads.
The Fire and Industrialization
By 1860 a number of rail lines connected Chicago with the rest of the nation, and the city was launched on its career as the great midcontinental shipping center. Gurdon S. Hubbard had already contributed to the establishment of the meatpacking industry, with its large stockyards. In 1871 the shambling city built of wood was almost entirely destroyed by a great fire (according to legend started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern), which killed several hundred people, rendered 90,000 homeless, and destroyed some $200 million worth of property.
Chicago was rebuilt as a city of stone and steel. Industries sprang up, attracting thousands of immigrants. Many ethnic groups contributed to the modern city, including Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, Jews, Italians, Poles, Czechs, African Americans, Lithuanians, Croats, Greeks, and Chinese. With industry came labor strife, highlighted by the Haymarket Square riot of 1886 and the great strikes at Pullman in 1894 (see Debs, Eugene Victor, and Altgeld, John Peter). Upton Sinclair's novel of the Chicago stockyards, The Jungle, aroused public indignation and led to investigations and improvements.
Center of Culture
The city, although proud of its reputation for brawling lustiness, was also the center of Midwestern culture. Theodore Thomas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra founded a great musical tradition. Chicago's literary reputation was established in the early 20th cent. by such men as Carl Sandburg, Theodore Dreiser, Eugene Field, Edgar Lee Masters, and James T. Farrell. Saul Bellow and Studs Terkel would continue this tradition later in the century.
Most notable in the development of American thought and taste in art was the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. One of the architects at the fair was Louis H. Sullivan, who, together with D. H. Burnham, John W. Root, Dankmar Adler, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others, made Chicago a leading architectural center. In 1909, D. H. Burnham and Edward Bennett devised their Plan of Chicago, later known as the "Burnham Plan," a forward-looking piece of city planning containing many features that were implemented later. It was here that one of the distinctive U.S. contributions to architecture, the skyscraper, came into being. Chicago's continuing interest in this type of structure is seen in the John Hancock Center (1968), the Aon Center (1974, formerly the Amoco Building, earlier the Standard Oil Building), the Willis Tower (1974, formerly the Sears Tower), and the Trump International Hotel and Tower (2009).
The Twentieth Century
Between World War I and 1933, Chicago earned unenviable renown as the home ground of gangsters—Al Capone being perhaps the most notorious—and its reputation for gangster warfare persisted long after that violent era had passed. Despite the worldwide depression of the 1930s, Chicago's world's fair, the Century of Progress Exposition (1933–34), proved how greatly the city had prospered and advanced. Perhaps the most significant event in World War II occurred (Dec. 2, 1942) under the stands of the Univ. of Chicago's Stagg Field, when Enrico Fermi and a group of scientists working on the government's atom bomb project achieved the world's first nuclear chain reaction. With the war came considerable growth in the Chicago metropolitan area, especially in outlying suburbs.
The city itself declined 23% in population between 1950 and 1990, although its diverse economic base spared it the worst of the economic decay of other large Midwestern cities. The population decline was reversed between 1990 and 2000, when it grew some 4%, largely due to the influx of Hispanic and Asian residents. Chicago's many cultural and other attractions make it a popular convention city; among the 25 national political conventions held there were the Republican national conventions of 1952 and 1960 and the Democratic national conventions of 1952, 1956, 1968, and 1996. The 1968 Democratic National Convention saw violent clashes between demonstrators and Chicago police and the National Guard. Mayor Richard J. Daley was criticized by the media for his manner of putting down the demonstrations, but Chicagoans overwhelmingly supported him. Chicagoans subsequently elected their first woman mayor (Jane Byrne, 1979–83) and their first African-American mayor (Harold Washington, 1983–87). Richard M. Daley was first elected to the office his father long held in 1989, and subsequently became the city's longest serving mayor. Rahm Emanuel was elected to succeed Daley in 2011.
See N. Algren, Chicago: City on the Make (1951, repr. 2011); R. A. Cromie, The Great Chicago Fire (1958); C. Condit, The Chicago School of Architecture (1964); T. A. Herr, Seventy Years in the Chicago Stockyards (1968); H. M. Mayer and R. Wade, Chicago (1969); B. Berry et al., Chicago (1976); I. Cutler, Chicago (1982); M. H. Ebner, Creating Chicago's North Shore (1988); W. Cronon, Nature's Metropolis (repr. 1992); A. Ehrenhalt, The Lost City (1995); D. L. Miller, City of the Century (1996); D. A. Pacyga, Chicago (2009); L. Bennett, The Third City (2010); T. Dyja, The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream (2013); J. R. Grossman et al., ed., The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004).
"Chicago (city, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-city-united-states
"Chicago (city, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-city-united-states
CHICAGO, the largest city in the Midwest, is located at the southwest corner of Lake Michigan. In 1673, the French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette led the first recorded European expedition to the site of the future city. It was a muddy, malodorous plain the American Indians called Chicagoua, meaning place of the wild garlic or skunkweed, but Jolliet recognized the site's strategic importance as a portage between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River valley. The French government ignored Jolliet's recommendation to construct a canal across the portage and thereby link Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Not until 1779 did a mulatto fur trader, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, establish a trading post along the Chicago River and become Chicago's first permanent resident. In 1803, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn across the river from the trading post, but during the War of 1812, Indians allied to the British destroyed the fort and killed most of the white inhabitants. In 1816, Fort Dearborn was rebuilt and became the hub of a small trading settlement.
The state of Illinois revived Jolliet's dream of a canal linking Lake Michigan and the Mississippi Valley, and in 1830 the state canal commissioners surveyed and platted the town of Chicago at the eastern terminus of the proposed waterway. During the mid-1830s, land speculators swarmed to the community, anticipating a commercial boom once the canal opened, and by 1837 there were more than 4,000 residents. In the late 1830s, however, the land boom busted, plunging the young settlement into economic depression.
During the late 1840s, Chicago's fortunes revived. In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal finally opened to traffic, as did the city's first rail line. By 1857, eleven trunk lines radiated from the city with 120 trains arriving and departing daily. Moreover, Chicago was the world's largest primary grain port and the point at which lumber from Michigan and Wisconsin was shipped westward to treeless prairie settlements. Also arriving by ship and rail were thousands of new settlers, increasing the city's population to 29,963 in 1850 and 109,260 in 1860. Irish immigrants came to dig the canal, but New comers from Germany soon outnumbered them and remained the city's largest foreign-born group from 1850 to 1920. In the 1870s and 1880s, Scandinavian immigrants added to the city's diversity, and by 1890, Chicago had the largest Scandinavian population of any city in America.
Attracting the New comers was the city's booming economy. In 1847, Cyrus McCormick moved his reaper works to Chicago, and by the late 1880s, the midwestern metropolis was producing 15 percent of the nation's farm machinery. During the 1860s, Chicago became the nation's premier meatpacking center, and in 1865 local entrepreneurs opened the Union Stock Yards on the edge of the city, the largest of its kind in the world. In the early 1880s, George Pullman erected his giant railroad car works and model industrial town just to the south of Chicago. Meanwhile, Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck Company were making Chicago the mail-order capital of the world.
The Great Fire of 1871 proved a temporary setback for the city, destroying the entire central business district and leaving approximately one-third of the city's 300,000 people homeless. But Chicago quickly rebuilt, and during the 1880s and 1890s, the city's architects earned renown for their innovative buildings. In 1885, William Le Baron Jenney completed the first office building supported by a
cage of iron and steel beams. Other Chicagoans followed suit, erecting iron and steel frame skyscrapers that astounded visitors to the city. Chicago's population was also soaring, surpassing the one million mark in 1890. In 1893, the wonders of Chicago were on display to sightseers from throughout the world when the city hosted the World's Columbian Exposition. An estimated 27 million people swarmed to the fair, admiring the neoclassical exposition buildings as well as enjoying such midway attractions as the world's first Ferris wheel.
Some Chicagoans, however, did not share in the city's good fortunes. By the last decades of the century, thousands of New comers from eastern and southern Europe were crowding into slum neighborhoods, and disgruntled workers were earning the city a reputation for labor violence. The Haymarket Riot of 1886 shocked the nation, as did the Pullman Strike of 1894, during which workers in Pullman's supposedly model community rebelled against the industrialist's tightfisted paternalism. In 1889, Jane Addams founded Hull-House, a place where more affluent and better-educated Chicagoans could mix with less fortunate slum dwellers and hopefully bridge the chasms of class dividing the city.
Meanwhile, the architect-planner Daniel Burnham sought to re-create Chicago in his comprehensive city plan of 1909. A model of "city beautiful" planning, Burnham's scheme proposed a continuous strand of parkland stretching twenty-five miles along the lakefront, grand diagonal boulevards imposed on the city's existing grid of streets, and a monumental neoclassical civic center on the near west side. Although not all of Burnham's proposals were realized, the plan inspired other cities to think big and draft comprehensive blueprints for future development. It was a landmark in the history of city planning, just as Chicago's skyscrapers were landmarks in the history of architecture.
During the post–World War I era, violence blemished the reputation of the Midwest's largest city. Between 1915 and 1919, thousands of southern blacks migrated to the city, and white reaction was not friendly. In July 1919, a race riot raged for five days, leaving twenty-three blacks and fifteen whites dead. Ten years later, the St. Valentine's Day massacre of seven North Side Gang members con-firmed Chicago's reputation for gangland violence. Home of the notorious mobster Al Capone, Prohibition-era Chicago was renowned for bootlegging and gunfire. The Century of Progress Exposition of 1933, commemorating the city's one-hundredth anniversary, drew millions of visitors to the city and offered cosmetic relief for the blemished city, but few could forget that in Chicago bloodshed was not confined to the stockyards.
In 1931, Anton Cermak became mayor and ushered in almost fifty years of rule by the city's Democratic political machine. The greatest machine figure was Mayor Richard J. Daley, who presided over the city from 1955 to his death in 1976. Under his leadership, Chicago won a reputation as the city that worked, unlike other American metropolises that seemed increasingly out of control. During the late 1960s and early 1970s a downtown building boom produced three of the world's tallest buildings, the John Hancock Center, the Amoco Building, and the Sears Tower. Moreover, the huge McCormick Place convention hall consolidated Chicago's standing as the nation's premier convention destination. And throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the city's O'Hare Field ranked as the world's busiest airport.
Yet the city did not necessarily work for all Chicagoans. The bitter demonstrations and "police riot" out-side the 1968 Democratic National Convention signaled trouble to the whole world. By the 1970s, a growing number of African Americans felt that the Democratic machine was offering them a raw deal. A combination of black migration from the South and white migration to the suburbs had produced a marked change in the racial composition of the city; in 1940, blacks constituted 8.2 percent of the population, whereas in 1980 they comprised 39.8 percent. By constructing huge high-rise public housing projects in traditional ghetto areas, the machine ensured that poor blacks remained segregated residentially, and these projects bred as many problems as the slums they replaced. As the number of manufacturing jobs declined in rust belt centers such as Chicago, blacks suffered higher unemployment rates than whites. Meanwhile, the Democratic machine seemed unresponsive to the demands of African Americans who had loyally cast their ballots for the Democratic Party since the 1930s.
Rebelling against the white party leaders, in 1983 African Americans exploited their voting strength and elected Harold Washington as the city's first black mayor. Although many thought that Washington's election represented the dawning of a new era in Chicago politics, the mayor was forced to spend much of his four years in office battling white Democratic aldermen reluctant to accept the shift in political power. In any case, in 1989, Richard M. Daley, son of the former Democratic boss, won the mayor's office, a position he was to hold for the remainder of the century.
Despite the new skyscrapers, busy airport, and thousands of convention goers, the second half of the twentieth century was generally a period of decline during which the city lost residents, wealth, and jobs to the suburbs. Chicago's population peaked at 3,621,000 in 1950 and then dropped every decade until 1990, when it was 2,784,000. During the last decade of the century, however, it rose 4 percent to 2,896,000. Much of this growth could be attributed to an influx of Latin American immigrants; in 2000, Hispanics constituted 26 percent of the city's population. A growing number of affluent whites were also attracted to gentrifying neighborhoods in the city's core. But during the last two decades of the century, the African American component declined both in absolute numbers and as a portion of the total population. The black-and-white city of the mid-twentieth century no longer existed. Hispanics and a growing Asian American population had diversified the Chicago scene.
Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: Norton, 1991.
Green, Paul M., and Melvin G. Holli, eds. The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.
Mayer, Harold M., and Richard C. Wade. Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.
Miller, Donald L. City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Pacyga, Dominic A., and Ellen Skerrett. Chicago, City of Neighborhoods: Histories and Tours. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1986.
Pierce, Bessie Louise. A History of Chicago. 3 vols. New York: Knopf, 1937–1957.
"Chicago." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chicago
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Lakeshore Site Begins With Trading Post, Fort
The earliest known inhabitants of the area they called "Chicaugou" were Native Americans of the Illinois tribe. The meaning of the word "Chicaugou" is variously interpreted to mean great, powerful, or strong, depending on the dialect. In the Chippewa dialect the word "shegahg" meant "wild onion"; it is said that an abundance of wild onions grew in the region.
The first people of European descent to reach Chicago were the explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who encamped on the Lake Michigan shore at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1673. A century later, in 1783, Jean-Baptiste Du Sable, the son of a French merchant from Quebec and a Haitian slave, left New Orleans and established a fur-trading post in the same area. The site was advantageous for transportation, because it afforded a short portage between the Chicago River, part of the Great Lakes waterway, and the Des Plaines River, connected to the Mississippi waterway via the Illinois River. Sable mysteriously vanished in 1800, and John Kinzie, the region's first English civilian settler, took over the trading post. Soon a United States garrison, Fort Dearborn, was built to defend the post. In 1812 angry Potawatomi killed most of the traders, except for the Kinzie family, and destroyed Fort Dearborn, which was rebuilt in 1816.
A survey and plat of the growing settlement were filed in 1830, at which time the area numbered 350 inhabitants. Chicago was chartered as a town in 1833 and rechartered as a city in 1837. The completion of the Illinois-Michigan Canal in 1848 turned the city into a marketing center for grain and food products. The first railroad arrived the same year the canal was opened, and within a decade Chicago was the focal point for 3,000 miles of track. The productive grain industry fed cattle and hogs, and Chicago emerged as the site of a major livestock market and meatpacking industry, surpassing Cincinnati as the nation's pork packer. Cattle merchants formed the Union Stock Yards and Transit Company.
Cyrus McCormick opened a factory in the city in 1847 to manufacture his reaper, leading the way for Chicago to become a farm implements hub. The city also became a leader in the processing of lumber for furniture, buildings, and fencing. Chicago industries outfitted Union troops during the Civil War, when the grain and farm machinery industries also experienced wartime growth. George Pullman began to produce railroad sleeping cars in Chicago in 1867. The next year the city's first blast furnace was built. At this time merchants Potter Palmer, Marshall Field, and Levi Leter began shipping consumer goods to general stores in the Midwest.
Growth Creates Challenges, Opportunities
Chicago's rapid growth resulted in congested residential sectors where the poor were relegated to shabby housing without proper sanitation. Chicago was radically changed, however, on October 8, 1871, by a cataclysmic fire that burned for 27 hours. At that time two-thirds of the city's buildings were made of wood and the summer had been especially dry; high winds spread the fire quickly. Although the stockyards, freight yards, and factory district were spared, Chicago's commercial area was completely destroyed; 8,000 buildings and property valued at just under $200 million were lost. More than 90,000 people were left homeless and 300 people lost their lives.
Since the city's industrial infrastructure was unscathed by the fire, rebuilding progressed rapidly, and Chicago was essentially rebuilt within a year. When the economic panic of 1873 swept the rest of the nation, Chicago was relatively protected from the ensuing depression. The city's prosperity in the post-fire era was founded on an expansion of its industrial and marketing base. Assembly-line techniques were introduced in the meat packing industry, and technological improvements benefitted the steel and farm machinery makers. The United States Steel South Works, based in Chicago, became one of the largest such operations in the world. At that time George Pullman established his Palace Car Company in a nearby town he owned and named after himself, which was later annexed to Chicago.
Chicago celebrated its two decades of growth by sponsoring the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, which also marked the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America, and which attracted more than 21 million visitors to the city. Chicago at this time was in the forefront of architectural innovation and became known as the birthplace of the skyscraper. Of particular architectural importance is the Chicago Board of Trade, where commodities futures are bought and sold. A politically active city, Chicago underwent a period of reform in the late 1890s. A civil service was inaugurated in 1895, and numerous reform organizations attempted to influence public opinion.
Political Trends Shape City's Future
Five-term Mayor Carter H. Harrison Jr. brought the reform spirit to a high point, but weak law enforcement and other factors allowed gangsters such as Alphonse "Scarface" Capone and John Dillinger to rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Chicago was characterized the world over as a gangster headquarters long after Democratic reform Mayor Anton J. Cermak initiated cleanup efforts. He also introduced a style of ward and district politics copied after the New York City Tammany Hall political machine. Cermak was killed by an assassin's bullet intended for President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Cermak's political organization continued under Mayor Edward J. Kelly.
In 1933 Chicago gained world attention once again when it hosted A Century of Progress, a world exposition that celebrated the city's incorporation as a municipality; Chicago's industrial and financial advances and prosperity were on display despite the era's economic depression. In 1942 scientists working in Chicago produced the first nuclear chain reaction and thus advanced the creation of atomic weaponry and energy. During its history, Chicago has frequently been the site of national political meetings, including the Republican Party gathering to nominate Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the Democratic Party convention that nominated Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968. The latter brought protestors against the Vietnam War to Chicago's streets and drew national attention to Mayor Richard J. Daley's handling of the demonstrators.
The Mayors Daley
The most powerful symbol of Chicago politics, Richard J. Daley served as mayor from 1955 until his death in 1976. Daley was a major force in the national Democratic Party and was considered the last "big city boss." His son, Richard M. Daley, ran for Chicago's mayoral office in 1989 in an election that Time magazine characterized as "an ethnic power struggle" that divided the city along racial lines. Chicago's first African American mayor, Harold Washington, had been elected in 1983 and reelected in 1987, but after his death the coalition of African Americans and white liberals that had elected him broke down; African American voter participation was down from previous elections while, according to Time, Daley's "richly financed campaign produced a large turnout among whites. Result: Daley, by 55% to 41%." Daley won 58 percent of the vote in 1995. As mayor of a city known for its widely diverse neighborhoods of Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, Jews, Italians, Poles, Eastern Europeans, Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans, Daley has faced the challenge of uniting the spirit of a divided city entering the twenty-first century as an internationally important urban center. With a national reputation as a skilled and astute negotiator, with powerful political supporters at the national level, Mayor Daley received another vote of confidence when the Democratic Party selected Chicago as the site of the 1996 National Convention. Mayor Daley has privatized a number of city government operations and by 1996 had passed balanced budgets seven years in a row; this and other successes accounted for his selection as national spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1996. In 2005 Mayor Daley outlined his goals for the city in his annual City of Chicago address. These goals included a city in which every family could afford housing in a safe neighborhood, a city in which every child receives a quality education, and a city where good jobs are available to those who want to work.
Today's Chicago exists as a cultural mecca, with world-class museums, restaurants, theater, and arts. Still, the "other side" of Chicago is not as shiny, in terms of blighted housing projects and crime—a stigma hard for any large city to overcome, yet continually addressed by the mayor and city leaders.
Historical Information: Chicago Historical Society, 1629 North Clark Street at North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614; telephone (312)642-4600
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Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Chicago's diversified economy is based on manufacturing, printing and publishing, finance and insurance, and food processing (the city is still considered the nation's "candy capital") as primary sectors. A substantial industrial base and a major inland port contribute to the city's position as a national transportation and distribution center. The source of nationally distributed magazines, catalogs, educational materials, encyclopedias, and specialized publications, Chicago ranks second only to New York in the publishing industry. The city is home to the Federal Reserve Bank, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Items and goods produced: telephone equipment, musical instruments, surgical appliances, machinery, earthmoving and agricultural equipment, steel, metal products, diesel engines, printing presses, office machines, radios and television sets, auto accessories, chemicals, soap, paint, food products and confections
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) actively promotes growth and development in Chicago's diverse neighborhoods with a focus on the continued economic development of the city. The department works with the existing business community and also works to attract new business to Chicago. All of this is done in the context of holistic, community-based planning, closely coordinating activities with residents and community organizations. The department's Technology Development Division works with the Chicago Partnership for Economic Development to strengthen the city's information technology sector.
DPD promotes effective neighborhood planning by coordinating the strategic allocation of public funds to maximize private investment—and the attraction of new companies—by providing a menu of financial resources, neighborhood improvements, site location assistance, and the expediting of permits and licenses. DPD also has the primary responsibility for preserving city landmarks and protecting the Chicago River and the Lake Michigan shoreline.
In 1977 the Illinois legislature adopted the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act to provide municipalities with a unique tool to finance and stimulate urban redevelopment. Through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), cities can stimulate private investment by offering incentives to attract and retain businesses, improve their community areas, and maintain a well-educated and highly trained labor force. TIF is by far the most popular incentive program in Chicago; by the end of 2003, Chicago had invested $870 million in TIF funds and benefitted from $5.4 billion in private investment
Job training programs
The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (MOWD) assists job seekers—including those who have been laid off—in finding and keeping jobs. The five Chicago Workforce Centers located throughout the city, as well as 30 community-based affiliate organizations, offer services such as basic job skills courses, access to job listings, seminars in resume writing and interviewing, and veterans services. Mayor Daley's WorkNet Chicago assists ex-offenders in reentering the workforce.
In the summer of 2004, the long-anticipated Millennium Park opened. Conceived in the late 1990s with the goal of creating more usable space in Grant Park, the $475 million park is a state-of-the-art example of modern city green space. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, is an outdoor concert venue that seats 4,000 people. The Cloud Gate, sculpted by Anish Kapoor, is a 110-ton elliptical sculpture made of stainless steel. Visitors can walk under and around the sculpture, which resembles a giant bean and reflects Chicago's skyline. Another popular attraction is the Jarume Plensa-designed Crown Fountain, two 50-foot high towers made of glass blocks and situated in a reflecting pool. The towers feature changing video images of the faces of Chicagoans, from which jets of water appear to descend.
In 2001 The Art Institute of Chicago unveiled plans to construct a new museum wing on the museum's northeast corner. Expected to be completed in 2007, the new wing, designed by architect Renzo Piano, will add approximately 220,000 square feet of space to the museum. The $198 million addition will add a contemporary appeal to the museum's 19th century building.
The O'Hare Modernization Program is Chicago's O'Hare International Airport's plan to add a new western terminal facility and reconfigure existing runways. The $6.6 billion project, to be funded through passenger facility charges, general airport revenue bonds, and federal Airport Improvement Program funds, will require a total of 433 acres in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Plans for the proposed improvements were submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for review in October of 2003.
McCormick Place, North America's largest exhibition hall, broke ground in 2004 for McCormick Place West. The $850 million expansion will add approximately 470,000 square feet of exhibition space and 250,000 square feet of meeting space, which will include more than 60 meeting rooms and a 100,000 square foot ballroom. The five-story facility will connect to the existing McCormick Place campus. McCormick Place West is expected to open in 2008.
Economic Development Information: Chicago Department of Planning and Development, 121 N. LaSalle Street, #1003, Chicago, IL 60602; telephone (312)744-4190
Since its founding, Chicago has been an important transportation and distribution point; at one time it was a crucial link between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways and today the city ranks among the world's busiest shipping hubs. The city became a world port in 1959 with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which provides a direct link from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The Port of Chicago handles marine, rail, and overland freight. The state of Illinois maintains the third-highest combined mileage of railroads and paved highways in the country. Approximately 750 motor freight carriers serve the metropolitan area, and trucking companies ship more than 50 million tons of freight each year; railroads average more than 40 million tons. Chicago's airports handle more than one million metric tons of cargo annually.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
Chicago's unemployment rate exceeds the national average. The loss of jobs for both unskilled and college-educated workers can be attributed to the Internet bust, an ailing economy, plant closings, and the relocation of companies once headquartered in Chicago. However, the unemployment rate seems to be on a decline; March of 2005 showed the largest gains in employment since 2000. Like many large cities, Chicago has a large immigrant population. The immigrants come from all over the world, including Poland, Mexico, India, the former Soviet Union, the Philippines, and China. Despite fears that low-skilled immigrants would not be assimilated into an increasingly high-tech economy, local analysts say the newcomers are following the success track of earlier groups, working their way into the middle class after performing service and laboring jobs.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Chicago metropolitan area civilian labor force, 2004 annual average:
Size of civilian labor force: 4,231,500
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 175,300
trade, transportation and utilities: 763,400
financial activities: 292,400
professional and business services: 601,100
educational and health services: 466,600
leisure and hospitality: 319,600
other services: 171,200
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.44 (Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan area, 2004 average)
Unemployment rate: 6.4% (February 2005)
|Largest employers||Number of employees|
|Chicago Public Schools||39,402|
|City of Chicago||35,978|
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Chicago is higher than the national average. The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Chicago area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $427,451
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 130.4 (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: 3.0%
State sales tax rate: 6.25% (1% on food and drugs) (2005)
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: 9%
Property tax rate: 7.247 mills (2002)
"Chicago: Economy." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-economy
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Chicago: Education and Research
Chicago: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
With 613 elementary and high schools, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system is the largest public elementary and secondary educational system in Illinois. Several initiatives, such as the Chicago Reading Initiative and the Chicago Math and Science Initiative are programs that have been implemented district-wide to ensure students meet minimum achievement standards in basic subjects. The After School Matters program is a partnership between CPS, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library, and the City of Chicago. Apprenticeships and club activities offer teens exposure to and on-the-job training in the arts, sports technology, and communications.
Because of the city's large foreign-born population, the school system employs bilingual teachers in 20 languages. Special schools include Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, situated on the last farm in the city of Chicago, which prepares students for jobs in "anything to do with food and fiber," and Curie Metropolitan High School, with magnet programs in the performing and creative arts and electronic repair and maintenance. Construction is expected to begin in 2006 on two new high schools, a selective enrollment college prep school and a vocational magnet high school, to be housed in one building on Chicago's west side. When opened in 2008, the schools will replace the existing Westinghouse High School.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Chicago public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year (middle schools are included in the elementary school count).
Total enrollment: 426,812
Number of facilities
elementary schools: 486
high schools: 107
Student teacher ratio: elementary, 22.7:1; high school, 19.6 (2003)
average: $62,985 (2003)
Funding per pupil: $8,786 (2003)
The Archdiocese of Chicago operates 235 elementary and 41 high schools in Cook and Lake counties, with an enrollment in excess of 107,000 students. There are also approximately 52 state-recognized public schools in Chicago.
Public Schools Information: Chicago Public Schools, 125 South Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60603; telephone (773)553-1000
Colleges and Universities
Chicago-area institutions of higher education include private, state, and religious universities of national note. The University of Chicago, founded with an endowment by John D. Rockefeller in 1891, enjoys an international reputation for pioneering science research and the "Chicago plan" in undergraduate education. The university claims more than 70 Nobel laureates—far more than any other university in the country. The university, with research funding of $236 million in 2003, administers advanced scholarship and research centers, including the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Enrico Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Argonne National Laboratory, among others. The University of Illinois at Chicago enrolls approximately 25,000 students earning bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and first professional degrees in dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy.
The city's three leading Catholic institutions are DePaul University, offering undergraduate, master's and doctorate and law programs to more than 23,000 students; Loyola University of Chicago, which awards bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, first-professional degrees in dentistry, law, and medicine, and a master's degree in divinity to its more than 13,000 students; and Saint Xavier College, where popular recent majors among its 5,700 students were business, nursing, and education. The Illinois Institute of Technology enrolls more than 6,000 students and offers professional programs in the sciences, engineering, law, art, and architecture. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with more than 2,700 students, holds national stature in art instruction.
Among the city's many other institutions of higher learning are Chicago City-Wide College, Roosevelt University, Chicago State University, Columbia College, Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Illinois College of Optometry, Rush University, and Vandercook College of Music. Northwestern University is located in nearby Evanston.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Chicago Public Library encompasses 75 branches, two regional libraries, and the central Harold Washington Library Center, which opened in 1991 and is one of the foremost educational and cultural resources in the city of Chicago. At 756,000 square feet, the library center is the largest municipal building in the world. The library's collection consists of about 6.5 million books, 14,500 periodicals and serials, 90,000 audiovisual titles, and 3 million microfiche. A special collection of books and materials in 90 foreign languages is maintained, and the library center is the repository for the Chicago Theater Collection, the Civil War Collection, and the Chicago Blues Archives. The library center also boasts an 18,000-square-foot children's library, a bustling business/science/technology division, and a Teacher Resource Center offering print and online resources to assist educators. On display throughout the building is an extensive public art collection.
Staff members in each library of the public library system build their own collections and tailor services to meet the needs of their local community. Since 1989, the city has built or renovated more than 40 branch libraries. Currently, new construction projects, renovations, expansions, and consolidation projects are underway. All of Chicago's public libraries offer free Internet access and free access to research databases.
The approximately 275 other libraries located in Chicago are affiliated with such entities as government agencies, colleges and universities, cultural and historical societies, professional organizations, research institutes, religious organizations, hospitals and medical associations, private corporations, and law firms.
The University of Chicago, internationally recognized for excellence in education and research, maintains a central library facility with more than 7 million printed works and 30 million manuscripts and archival pieces. Special collections are maintained in American and British literature, American history, theology and biblical criticism, American and British drama, and Continental literature. The University of Chicago operates seven separate facilities, including the D'Angelo Law Library and the Social Service Administration Library.
The Newberry Library, an independent research library, was founded in 1887. Free to the public, the library's non-circulating research materials number more than 1.4 million volumes; among the special collections are materials pertaining to Americana and American Indians.
One of the largest research libraries in Chicago is the Center for Research Libraries, an international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities, and libraries that makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere. It houses more than 5 million books and periodicals; fields of study include Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America, and war crime trials. The Chicago Academy of Sciences' International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy (ICASL) is the leading research organization in the world studying and measuring the impact of science and technology on public awareness. The National Opinion Research Center collects current opinion poll reports conducted for commercial television networks, newspapers, state governments, professional pollsters such as Gallup and Harris. The Chicago Historical Society maintains research collections on Chicago, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Illinois, and United States history.
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University is the only cancer center in Illinois. The center is dedicated to cancer care, research, prevention, and education. Other research centers in the Chicago area include those maintained by Bell Labs, Nalco Chemical, the ITT Research Institute, the Institute of Gas Technology, the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, the Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the Institute on the Church in Urban-Industrial Society.
Public Library Information: Chicago Public Library, 400 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Information Center, telephone (312)747-4300
"Chicago: Education and Research." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-education-and-research
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Newspapers and Magazines
Chicago's major daily newspapers are the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, both of which are distributed in morning and Sunday editions and maintain an Internet presence. A number of African American and ethnic newspapers circulate regularly. More than a hundred community and foreign-language newspapers are published in the city, serving Lithuanian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Hispanic-speaking residents, among others. The Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly, covers entertainment, social, and cultural issues.
Chicago is a national leader in publishing and printing; more than 600 newspapers and periodicals originate in the city, including American Libraries, Ebony, Jet, Poetry and Your Money. Specialized trade magazines cover a comprehensive range of subjects such as health care, international trade, consumer issues, industry and trade, agriculture, politics, business, and professional information. The University of Chicago is the source of several scholarly journals; among the areas covered are philology, literature, the sciences, ethics, business, labor, history, library science, medicine, and law.
Television and Radio
Chicago is a broadcast media center for a wide region of the Midwest. Television viewers receive programming from 12 commercial, public, and independent stations based in the Chicago metropolitan area. Television programs filmed in Chicago for a national audience include The Oprah Winfrey Show and the movie review program Ebert and Roeper. Nearly 60 AM and 11 FM radio stations broadcast a complete selection of formats, including all major types of music, news, talk shows, public interest features, and market reports.
Media Information: Chicago Tribune, Tribune Publishing, 435 North Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611; telephone (312)222-3232. Chicago Sun-Times, 350 North Orleans, Chicago, IL 60654; telephone (312)321-3000. Chicago Reader, 11 East Illinois, Chicago, IL 60611; telephone (312)828-0350
Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.chicago.il.org
Chicago Historical Society. Available www.chicagohs.org
Chicago Public Library. Available www.chipublib.org/cpl.html
Chicago Public Schools. Available www.cps.k12.il.us
Chicago Tribune. Available www.chicago.tribune.com
City of Chicago Home Page. Available www.egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/home.do
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. Available www.illinois.gov
McCormick Place Complex. Available www.mccormickplace.com
Bellow, Saul, The Adventures of Augie March (New York: Avon, 1977, 1953)
Chicago Sun Times, Adrienne Drell, eds. 20th Century Chicago: 100 Years 100 Voices. (Chicago: Sports Publishing, 1999)
Miller, Donald L., City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996)
Samuelson, Tim, Cheryl Kent et al. Above Chicago: A New Collection of Historical and Original Aerial Photographs of Chicago. (Cameron & Company, 1992)
Sinclair, Upton, The Jungle (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988)
"Chicago: Communications." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-communications
"Chicago: Communications." Cities of the United States. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-communications
Approaching the City
The destination of the majority of air traffic into Chicago is O'Hare International Airport, located 17 miles northwest of downtown, where most major domestic and international commercial carriers schedule more than 880,000 flights annually. One of the busiest air facilities in the world, O'Hare accommodates more than 190,000 passengers who pass through the gates of the architecturally impressive terminal each day. Continental Airport Express provides van service between O'Hare and all downtown hotels, the North Shore, and Oak Brook suburbs; Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides rapid transit train service between O'Hare and downtown. Taxis are available at the lower level curbfront of all terminals.
Several other commuter and general aviation airports are located throughout the Chicago metropolitan area; among them are Midway Airport, ten miles from downtown, which is known as the "premier point-to-point airport in the nation".
Passenger rail service into Chicago is provided by Amtrak from cities in all regions of the United States; the Chicago South Shore and South Bend is an intercity commuter rail line. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates bus and rapid-transit service into the city from the distant suburbs. Regional rail transportation is available through Metropolitan Rail (Metra).
A somewhat complex network of interstate highways facilitates access into the metropolitan area as well as the Loop district. Approaching from the northwest is I-94, which merges with the John F. Kennedy Expressway leading downtown. I-294 (the Tri-State Tollway), an outerbelt on the west side, joins I-80 to the south. Other westerly approaches are: State Road 5, the East-West Tollway, which becomes I-290; I-90, the North-West Tollway, which intersects I-290; and I-55, the Adlai Stevenson Expressway. Approaches from the south include I-94, the Calumet Expressway; I-57; and I-90, the Chicago Skyway; all of these merge with the Dan Ryan Expressway leading into the city. Running south of Chicago is I-80, which connects with I-55, I-57, I-90, and I-94; near the Indiana border I-80 joins I-90 to become the Northern Indiana Toll Road.
Traveling in the City
Chicago streets conform to a consistent grid pattern; major thoroughfares include east-west State Street and north-south Madison Street, which intersect downtown and provide the numerical orientation for all addresses. Lake Shore Drive, affording a scenic view of Lake Michigan and the skyline, extends along the lake from the northern to the southern city limits.
Metra runs commuter trains and buses between the city and suburbs. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates bus, subway, and elevated train (the "El") routes between the Loop and the nearby suburbs. Cabs are readily available in the downtown area. Parking in Chicago can be problematic; for this reason several city-run parking garages are available.
"Chicago: Transportation." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-transportation
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Chicago: Population Profile
Chicago: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents (CMSA)
1990: 7,410,858 (PMSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 23.6%
U.S. rank in 1980: 3rd
U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd
U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd
2003 estimate: 2,869,121
Percent change, 1990–2000: 4%
U.S. rank in 1980: 2nd
U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd
U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd
Density: 12,750.3 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 1,065,009
American Indian and Alaska Native: 10,290
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 1,788
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 753,644
Percent of residents born in state: 57.7% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 216,868
Population 5 to 9 years old: 224,012
Population 10 to 14 years old: 200,802
Population 15 to 19 years old: 200,962
Population 20 to 24 years old: 239,252
Population 25 to 34 years old: 533,199
Population 35 to 44 years old: 433,268
Population 45 to 54 years old: 330,507
Population 55 to 59 years old: 116,932
Population 60 to 64 years old: 99,757
Population 65 to 74 years old: 159,915
Population 75 to 84 years old: 103,720
Population 85 years and over: 35,168
Median age: 31.5 years
Births (2003) Total number: 48,044
Deaths (2002) Total number: 22,298 (of which, 412 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $20,175
Median household income: $38,625
Total households: 1,061,964
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 146,192
$10,000 to $14,999: 71,103
$15,000 to $24,999: 132,339
$25,000 to $34,999: 133,670
$35,000 to $49,999: 171,140
$50,000 to $74,999: 188,700
$75,000 to $99,999: 95,162
$100,000 to $149,999: 75,743
$150,000 to $199,999: 21,884
$200,000 or more: 26,031
Percent of families below poverty level: 16.6% (48.6% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not reported
"Chicago: Population Profile." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-population-profile
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Chicago: Health Care
Chicago: Health Care
Chicago ranks among the country's leading centers for health care and referral as well as for medical training and research, generally due to the university hospitals, teaching centers, and medical facilities. Hospital facilities in Chicago have undergone major changes in the past 25 years, however. Between 1980 and 2004, the number of hospitals in Chicago has shrunk by nearly 35 percent, from 64 hospitals in 1980 to 42 in 2004, representing a decrease in hospital beds by nearly 50 percent.
The University of Chicago Hospitals, nationally recognized for training and research, are associated with the University of Chicago colleges of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy; individual facilities are Bernard Mitchell Hospital, Wyler Children's Hospital, the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, and Chicago Lying-in Hospital. A full range of general and specialized services are available as well as a chemical dependence program, corporate health services, an eating disorders program, geriatric and health evaluation services, and centers for treatment of kidney stones and sexually transmitted diseases.
One of Chicago's major privately-run health care facilities is Rush University Medical Center, which is affiliated with Rush Medical College and Rush School of Nursing. The 830-bed hospital operates centers for treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cardiac ailments, sleep disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and arthritis. The complex also houses organ and bone marrow transplant units as well as the Chicago and Northeastern Regional Poison Control Center. According to a 2004 report in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" issue, Rush has earned more specialty rankings than any other hospital in Illinois.
Medical Information: Rush University Medical Center physician referral, (888)352-RUSH. University of Chicago Hospitals physician referral, (888)UCH-0200.
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Chicago: Geography and Climate
Chicago: Population Profile
Chicago: Municipal Government
Chicago: Education and Research
Chicago: Health Care
Chicago: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1830 (incorporated 1837)
Head Official: Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) (since 1989)
2003 estimate: 2,869,121
Percent change, 1990–2000: 4%
U.S. rank in 1980: 2nd
U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd (State rank: 1st)
U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd (State rank: 1st)
Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 23.6%
U.S. rank in 1980: 3rd
U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd
U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd
Area: 228.4 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 578.5 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 49.8° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 35.82 inches
Major Economic Sectors: Services, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, government
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (February 2005)
Per Capita Income: $20,175 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: Not Reported
Major Colleges and Universities: University of Chicago; University of Illinois at Chicago; DePaul University; Loyola University of Chicago
Daily Newspapers: Chicago Tribune; Chicago Sun-Times
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Chicago: Geography and Climate
Chicago: Geography and Climate
Chicago extends westward on a plain along the southwest shore of Lake Michigan. The climate is continental, with frequently changing weather bringing temperatures that range from relatively warm in the summer to relatively cold in the winter. Temperatures of 96 degrees or higher occur during summers; winters can register a minimum low of minus 15 degrees. Snowfall near the lakeshore is usually heavy because of cold air movement off Lake Michigan. Summer thunderstorms are frequently heavy but variable, as parts of the city may receive substantial rainfall while other sectors will have none. Strong wind gusts in the central business district are caused by the channeling of winds between tall buildings; the nickname "windy city," often applied to Chicago, does not, however, refer to the average wind speed, which is no greater than in many other parts of the country. Chicagoans instead attribute the nickname to their reputed penchant for talking proudly about their city.
Area: 228.4 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 578.5 feet above sea level
Average Temperatures: January, 21.3° F; July, 73.4° F; annual average, 49.8° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 35.82 inches
"Chicago: Geography and Climate." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-geography-and-climate
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Chicago: Convention Facilities
Chicago: Convention Facilities
Chicago, one of the most popular convention cities in the United States, is home to McCormick Place, the largest exhibition center in North America. Set on the edge of Lake Michigan, McCormick Place contains more than 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space. The complex also features the 4,249-seat Arie Crown Theater, three 345-seat theaters, 112 meeting rooms, assembly seating for 10,000 people, and 8,000 parking spaces. The addition of the adjoining McCormick Place West, expected to be completed in 2008, will add approximately 470,000 square feet of exhibition space and 250,000 square feet of meeting room space to the facility. Chicago is known for its mix of gracious dowager hotels and modern glass towers with spectacular views of Lake Michigan.
Navy Pier offers space for mid-size events with 170,000 square feet of exhibit space and 36 meeting rooms. Special meeting facilities are available at museums, theaters, stadiums, corporations, and colleges and universities in the Chicago area.
Convention Information: Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, 2301 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60616; telephone (312)567-8500
"Chicago: Convention Facilities." Cities of the United States. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chicago-convention-facilities
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Chicago, the seat of Illinois's Cook County and the third largest city in the country, is the focus of a consolidated metropolitan statistical area that covers the primary metropolitan statistical areas of Gary, Indiana; Kankakee, Illinois; and Kenosha, Wisconsin. "Brawling" was the word Carl Sandburg applied to Chicago in his poem about the city. No longer the "Hog Butcher for the World," at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Chicago is still an enthusiastically combative city with a lively political life. A railroad hub in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when its population had already reached 300,000 people, Chicago became a major force in the nation's development. Today, it is a national transportation, industrial, telecommunications, and financial leader as well as a city of great architectural significance, ethnic diversity, and cultural wealth. The only inland urban area to rank with major East and West Coast metropolises, Chicago has achieved international status through the quality of its cultural institutions and its position as a world financial center.
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Chicago (river, United States)
Chicago, river, formed in Chicago by the junction of its North Branch (24 mi/39 km long) and South Branch (10 mi/16 km long), and flowing southeast via a canal into the Des Plaines River at Lockport, Ill. The river formerly flowed east, then northeast via a channel, into Lake Michigan. Its course was reversed by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, 30 mi (48 km) long, 22 ft (6.7 m) deep, and from 162 to 290 ft (49–88 m) wide, built (1892–1900) on the South Branch to prevent the pollution of Lake Michigan by Chicago's sewage; locks prevent the river from entering the lake. The use of Lake Michigan's water to flush the canal was a heated political issue finally settled in 1930 when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a reduction in the amount of water being diverted from the lake. This decision forced Chicago to build sewage treatment plants. The channels of the Chicago River and the North Branch have been improved to aid deep-draft vessels and barges.
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Chicago: Municipal Government
Chicago: Municipal Government
The Chicago city government is headed by a strong mayor and a nonpartisan, 50-member council; the mayor and council members are elected to four-year terms. Mayor Daley has indicated that creating a good climate for business is an essential goal of his administration. He is committed to being the education mayor by improving Chicago's public schools.
Head Official: Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) (since 1989; current term expires 2007)
Total Number of City Employees: more than 35,978 (2004); excluding employees of Chicago Public Schools, Park District, Water Reclamation District, Transit Authority, Housing Authority, and City Colleges City Information: Mayor's Office, City of Chicago, 121 N. Lasalle Street, Room 507, Chicago, IL 60602; telephone (312)744-8045
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West Chicago, city (1990 pop. 14,796), Du Page co., NE Ill.; inc. 1906. Mostly residential, the city has food-processing plants and produces horticultural products, specialty tapes, and plastics.
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Pop/rock, jazz group
With distinctly midwestern roots and a distinctive big-band sound, Chicago took the pop music world by surprise in the 1970s with their jazzy, full instrumental arrangements. Though they were often compared with another big-band-sounding pop group, Blood, Sweat and Tears, member Robert Lamm points out one of their differences by saying, “Our roots are basically rock, but we can and do play jazz; Blood, Sweat and Tears is basically a jazz-rooted combo that can play a lot of rock.”
Originally called the Big Thing, a phrase Lamm said “Mafia types” used to describe the band’s unique music, the group later changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority, then, after their first album, simply Chicago. The musical diversity in the group was astounding from the beginning, with only two of the original six members (Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Danny Seraphine, Terry Kath, Walt Parazaider, and Lee Loughnane, with the addition of Peter Cetera in the late sixties, and, in 1974, percussionist Laudir De Oliverira) being self-taught, and the rest having considerable
Group originally formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1967 as the Big Thing; original members included keyboardist Robert Lamm (born October 13, 1944); trombonist James Pankow (born August 20, 1947); drummer Daniel Seraphine (born August 28, 1948); guitarist Terry Kath (born January 31, 1946; died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, January 23, 1978); trumpeter Lee Loughnane (born October 21, 1946); and woodwind player Walter Parazaider (born March 14, 1945); subsequent members have included bassist Peter Cetera (born September 13, 1944; joined band during late 1960s; now pursuing solo career), percussionist Laudir De Oliveria (joined band in 1974), and guitarist Donnie Dacus (replaced Terry Kath in 1978), group name changed to Chicago Transit Authority (also called CTA), 1968; released first album, April, 1969; name changed to Chicago, 1970.
Awards: Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a duo, group, or chorus, 1976, for song “If You Leave Me Now.”
Addresses: Management —Front Line Management, 80 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.
formal training. The group boasted competent musicians not only on drums or guitar, but also on clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and piano. The group’s impressive blend of jazz and rock elements and improvisational energy attracted a varied audience.
Before gaining national popularity, the band played at a number of rock clubs in the Los Angeles Sunset Strip district, eventually receiving a small following and favorable reviews from underground papers. They stepped into the spotlight with Chicago Transit Authority in 1969, an album that slowly made its way onto the charts to stay there well into 1971. Lamm’s pop ballad “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” became a hit single in 1969 and remains one of the group’s most popular songs. A series of hit singles, including “Make Me Smile” and the curiously titled “25 or 6 to 4” followed the release of the group’s second album, Chicago, in 1970. The disc also contained one of the first of many unusual tracks, a six-movement rock composition entitled “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon.”
More orchestral work was to follow in the band’s third LP (a two-record set) with multiple-movement suites “Hour in the Shower” and the entire-side-long “Travel Suite.” Another two-record set came in the form of a live album, Chicago at Carnegie Hall, released in 1971. According to Rolling Stone, the latter was “probably the worst live album in history.” Released against Chicago’s wishes, the band blamed their sloppy performance on the constant interference of the record’s producer on stage. Said Pankow, “The horns on that record sound like kazoos…. How can you play? Every two seconds a curve was being thrown to everyone onstage.” Nevertheless, the set rose swiftly into the top ten.
Subsequent albums were released almost every year, with two released in a single year on more than one occasion, and all were certified gold. Top-selling singles rose out of almost every album and included such songs as “Saturday in the Park” in 1972 and “Feelin’ Stronger Everyday” in 1973. The group was immensely popular in concert as well, including a number of college and university campuses among as many as 200 concerts a year. The group also traveled to Europe and were extremely well-received in Scandinavia, belying any suggestion that their brand of jazzy pop was only a U.S. phenomenon. Their 1976 Chicago X album garnered three Grammys, with the single “If You Leave Me Now” recognized for both best arrangement and best pop vocal performance by a duo or group for the year.
Despite the overwhelming success enjoyed by the band, Rock Who’s Who maintains they were “a big-band rock group that initially utilized jazz-style improvisations,” later degenerating into “a pop group of huge popularity, issuing album after album of formulaic, predictable, middle-of-the-road fare.” Again, the group members found fault with their producer and what they interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm. “It took so long to do things” Parazaider told Rolling Stone. “That’s when it becomes like a factory gig, then you’re just pumping it out.” The band began coproducing their albums, then, finally, began coming in after-hours to record alone. “With [producer] Jimmy [Guercio] everything had to be technically correct,” adds Seraphine. “Sometimes he would lose some of the magic because he was so meticulous.” Eventually, toward the later seventies, the group’s popularity seemed to fade, their vitality weakened by the tragic death of Terry Kath in 1978 and their previous cessation of ties to longtime producer/manager Guercio. This low point was not to last long.
Finding new confidence and enthusiasm in guitarist Donnie Dacus and co-producer Phil Ramone, the band turned out one of their finest albums, Hot Streets, in 1978. Instead of perfection, Ramone emphasized the group’s natural sound, drawing on the excitement of an essentially “live” recording. Strong tracks from the album included the Bee Gees-backed “Little Miss Loving” and the chart-topping “Alive Again,” which People described as exploding “with an awesome blend of power and finesse.” Addressing the longstanding problem of the band having a recognizable “logo” but not “ego,” the members were photographed on their album’s cover for the first time. Newly focused and pushing foward as professional musicians concerned with the vitality of their music and its potential impact on future generations, the group did indeed appear to be “alive again.”
After the release of Chicago 17, however, longtime member Peter Cetera left the group to pursue a solo career. His departure appeared to have little effect on the group, whose “corporate, or maybe it’s municipal, kind of sound” (as reproduced on Chicago 18) remained unchanged. Still, People noted the album included a remake of the early hit “25 or 6 to 4,” suggesting a certain desperation for hits that would lead them to “resuscitate its old ones.” Despite such criticism, though, the LP found favor as “basic, hard-core Chicago, which history has shown to be a lot of people’s kind of music.”
As Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority, Columbia, 1969, reissued, 1989.
Chicago, Columbia, 1970.
Chicago III, Columbia, 1971.
Live at Carnegie Hall, Columbia, 1971.
Chicago V, Columbia, 1972.
Chicago VI, Columbia, 1973.
Chicago VII, Columbia, 1974.
Chicago VIII, Columbia, 1975.
Chicago IX—Chicago’s Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1975.
Chicago X, Columbia, 1976.
Chicago XI, Columbia, 1977.
Hot Streets, Columbia, 1978.
Chicago XIII, Columbia, 1979.
Chicago XIV, Columbia, 1980.
Chicago’s Greatest Hits, Vol 2, Columbia, 1981.
Chicago XVI, Full Moon, 1984.
Chicago 17, Full Moon, 1984.
Chicago 18, Warner Bros., 1986.
Chicago 19, Reprise, 1988.
Helander, Brock, Rock Who’s Who, Schirmer, 1982.
Nite, Norm N., Rock On, Volume 2, Harper, 1984.
Stambler, Irwin, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul, St. Martin’s, 1977.
People, October 16, 1978; November 17, 1986; February 2, 1987.
Rolling Stone, December 14, 1978.
Time, June 2, 1975.
—Meg Mac Donald
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