Chicago Facts & History—
(maybe help you win at trivia)
- Chicago is located on the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan which is an inland sea 307 miles long and 118 miles wide.
- French fur trappers coming south along the shore of the Lake passed through the Chicago region as early as the 1780’s.
- Jean Baptiste Point du Sable stayed, started a fur trading outpost and is credited as the founder of the city.
- It stayed a wilderness outpost with a small fort, Fort Dearborn being built in 1803 and then being abandoned a few years later. It wasn’t until 1833 that it was incorporated as a village.
- Chicago then grew rapidly as the gateway to the westward expansion of the country. Huge quantities of logs from the North Woods were sent down the Lake and were processed into lumber needed for housing on the Great Plains and beyond. Manufactured goods came from the east. Everything went through Chicago. Grain from the surrounding farmland went East. By 1854 Chicago was the world’s largest grain port.
- By 1870 Chicago was the second largest city in the country.
- Then disaster struck. Because of the city’s rapid growth all, nearly all construction was wood rather than brick. In many places the sidewalks and even the streets were wood.
- The fall of 1871 was hot and dry. On a windy day in October , legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern which started her barn on fire. From there the fire spread rapidly and soon engulfed much of the city.
- It was estimated that as many as 300 people were killed and 100,000 people were left homeless. The embers from the fire were still warm, when the first load of rebuilding supplies arrived. With aid pouring in from all over the country and the world, Chicago rebuilt and went on to an even greater growth spurt, going from a population of 299,000 in 1870 to 1.7 million in 1900.
- This rapid growth created opportunities that attracted immigration from Europe that is still reflected in much of the city’s population today,Polish, German, Italian to name a few.
- The recovery from the fire also created a confidence and optimism in the population can still be felt today.
- Les Nomades 222 E. Ontario. We love Les Nomades for its creative French Cuisine and its friendly elegance without a trace of stuffiness.It is what you imagine a Parisian restaurant to be. http://www.lesnomades.net
- Spiagia 980 N. Michigan Refined Italian Cuisine with a great view of Lake Michigan.
- Spiagia Café is a more casual version open for Lunch as well as Dinner
- Topolabompo 445 N Clark Always changing regional Mexican like you have never tasted before. https://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/topolobampo/
- Fontera grill next door is less formal and adventuresome, but equally well executed.
- River Roast 315 N La Salle Roasted chicken, beef, pork and fish served family style. With great view of Chicago River. Brunch with some of the City’s best Blues musicians playing.
- Tratoria No. 10 at 10 N. Dearborn Italian American charming setting reminiscent of a Renaissance cellar dining hall.
- Portillo’s: Beef sandwiches ,Chicago style hot dogs and Polish Sausages
- Lou Malnati’s: Thick crust Pizza
- Trump Tower Terrace 16 for a fantastic view of the Lake and Chicago River 410 N Wabash
- London house hotel
- Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan Great Collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists.
Iconic American 20th century, Hopper’s Night Hawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic and much, much more.
App audio guide
- Field Museum of Natural History: Sue the T-Rex now has her own room plus new Maximo the Titanosaur , the largest land animal that ever lived, Our Evolving Planet , Egyptian exhibit and changing exhibits.
- The Shed Aquarium and Adler Planetarium are on the same Museum Campus as the Field Museum.
- Museum of Science and Industry 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. Has a real German submarine from WWII. Coal Mine , many interesting scientific exhibits and Imax Theater.
Favorite Sport Teams:
- Cubs play at Wrigley Field Clark and Addison . Core of World series team still on the playing but maybe not for long see the while you can.
- White Soxs play at Gauranteed Rate Field (Sox Park) 35 th Street and Shields Good young team coming together fun to watch.
- NFL Bears play at Soldier Field
- League Soccer: Chicago Fire Play at Soldier Field also
- Bulls in NBA and Blackhawks in NHL play at United Center
- SKY in WNBA play at Wintrust Arena
- Willis Tower : (Formerly and still called Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the world for about 30 years and is still the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Has a great observation deck at the top including The Ledge, a clear glass platform you can walk out on and look down 103 floors,if you dare.
- John Handcock Building: Almost as high as Willis tower, the observation deck has beautiful views looking east and north over the lake and shoreline as well as west and south over the city.The deck also has glass panels that tilt out so you can look down to the street.
- Navy Pier is a 3300 foot long pier that sticks out into Lake Michigan starting at 600 E Grand Ave. It has a Ferris Wheel with an excellent view of the city and is highly recommended Also there are various boat rides out into the lake from a tall sailing ship, the Windy, to speed boats, fast and really fast Sea Dog and Super Sea Dog, to calmer sightseeing and lunch and dinner cruises. We recommend you try at least one. The guides will a bit of history and explain points of interest on all the cruises .
Navy pier is also the home of the Shakespeare Theater one of the best theaters in the city ,and it is not all Shakespeare.
- CAC River Cruise Over a century ago, Chicago was a young city and was rebuilding from the fire; so there was land and opportunity for young and innovative architects to experiment with new and even radical designs. Not all of those buildings remain, but that spirit of innovation does remain in Chicago Architecture. To really appreciate this architecture, take a river cruise run by the Chicago Architecture Center.Many of most beautiful buildings are built along the river. And the docents on the river cruises will give you a treasure-trove of information.
We have Chicago Part 2 coming out next week, March 24!