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Facts about Chicago, IL For Kids

Fun Facts about Chicago

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois. With over 2.8 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous city. Its metropolitan area, commonly named “Chicagoland,” is home to an estimated 9.7 million people spread across the U.S. states of IllinoisWisconsin, and Indiana. Chicago is primarily located within Cook County, except a small northwestern portion of the city at O’Hare International Airport located within DuPage County.

Timeline of Chicago History from 1673-1850

1673: Chicago Was Founded

1795: Treaty of Greenville

1803: Construction of Fort Dearborn Begins

1812Fort Dearborn is burned down by Native Americans

1818: Illinois became a state

1832: Black Hawk War

1833: Chicago is incorporated as a Town

1833: Chicago’s First Newspaper – The Chicago Weekly Democrat

1836: Three Chicago commissioners wrote that what is now Grant Park should be “Public Ground – A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of Any Buildings, or Other Obstruction Whatever.” Aaron Montgomery Ward later used this statement to keep developers off the 320-acre lake-front property.

1837: Chicago’s First Local Theater Company Established

1837: Incorporated as a City

1837: Chicago’s First Mayor – William Butler Ogden Elected

1847: Chicago Tribune began publishing

1847: The population of Chicago numbered about 20,000 people

1848: Chicago Board of Trade Founded

1848: Chicago Builds First Municipal Structure, Market Building

1848: Galena & Chicago Union Railroad

1848: First City Hall in State Street

1848: Telegraph Reaches Chicago

Timeline of Chicago History from 1850-1900

1850: The population of Chicago approached 30,000

1851: Chicago’s first institution of higher education, Northwestern University, was founded

1855: Lager Beer Riots

1855: Police Department Created

1856: Chicago Historical Society Founded

1857: Academy of Sciences Founded

1860Lincoln Nominated at Chicago’s First National Convention

1862: Camp Douglas Becomes Confederate Prisoner of War Camp

1865: Chicago’s First Museum – Academy of Sciences Opens

1865: Chicago Union Stock Yards Completed

1867: First Tunnel Under the Lake

1868: Field and Leiter Open Store at Washington and State

1868Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens Founded

1869: First Traffic Tunnels Under the River

1869: Chicago Water Tower Built

1871: The Great Fire

1872: Chicago Board of Education Established

1872: Montgomery Ward—First Mail-Order House

1873: Chicago Public Library Opened

1877: Telephones Reach Chicago

1877: Railroad Strike

1879: Carter Harrison Elected Mayor

1879: Chicago Art Institute Founded

1886: Haymarket Riot

1889: Auditorium Building Dedicated

1890: The University of Chicago was founded by John D. Rockefeller

1891: Inaugural Concert of Chicago Symphony Orchestra

1892: First Elevated Rapid Transit Line

1893: Chicago Harbor Lighthouse Built

1893: World’s Columbian Exposition

1893: The First Ferris Wheel Debuts in Chicago

1893: Daniel Hale Williams Performs Open Heart Surgery

1893: Mayor Carter Harrison Shot and Killed

1893: Field Museum of Natural History Founded

1896: Chicago Federation of Labor Founded

1897: The Union Loop Elevated is completed

1898: Chicago Butter and Egg Board Founded

Timeline of Chicago History from 1900-1950

1900: Flow of Chicago River Reversed

1901: Chicago Freight Tunnels

1902: The American Automobile Association was founded in Chicago

1902: Train service between New York and Chicago began.

1903: Iroquois Theater Fire

1904: The Ravinia Festival was founded as a high-class amusement park designed to increase ridership for a railroad company. It became a center for summertime opera but folded during the depression in 1931.

1905: Chicago Defender Debuts

1905: The 1st freight delivery tunnel system began underneath Chicago.

1906: White Sox Defeat Cubs in Crosstown World Series

1907: Cubs Win World Series

1908: Garfield Park Conservatory Opens

1908: Oct 14, The Chicago Cubs won the World Series as they defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 5, 2-0, at Bennett Park

1908: Street Numbering Change

1909: Chicago Plan Published

1909: Illinois Supreme Court Rules to Keep Lakefront “Forever Open, Clear and Free.”

1909: Water Crib Fire

1910: Comiskey Park Opens

1910: Union Stock Yards Fire

1911: Dedication of Present City Hall

1914: Wrigley Field Built

1915: Eastland Disaster

1916: Wrigley Field in Chicago opened

1917: The Chicago White Sox won the Baseball World Series

1919: In a Chicago race riot, 15 whites and 23 blacks were killed, with 500 injured

1919: In baseball’s World Series, the Chicago White Sox faced the Cincinnati Reds in a best of 9 games. The White Sox intentionally threw the series to satisfy gamblers in what became known as the Black Sox Scandal. 8 players were banned from baseball for life. In 1963 Eliot Asinof described the events in his book “Eight men Out.” The 1988 baseball film “Eight Men Out” was directed by John Sayles.

1921: Westinghouse Station KYW Broadcasts Chicago’s First Radio Program

1924: Grant Park Stadium, which will later be named Soldier Field, is Completed

1925: Union Station Completed

1927: Buckingham Fountain Constructed

1927: Chicago’s Midway Airport Opened

1928: Straightening of the Chicago River

1929: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

1929: Chicago Stadium Opens

1930: Shedd Aquarium Officially Opens

1930: Adler Planetarium Founded, First in Western Hemisphere

1930: Merchandise Mart Opens as World’s Largest Building

1931: Jane Addams Wins Nobel Peace Prize

1932: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1933: Mayor Anton Cermak Shot and Killed

1933: First Baseball All-Star Game

1933: Museum of Science and Industry Opens

1934: Brookfield Zoo Opens

1934: Chicago Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Championship

1937Memorial Day Incident at Republic Steel

1938: Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Championship

1940: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1942Plutonium First Isolated

1942: First Controlled Atomic Reaction

1943: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1943: Chicago’s First Subway Opened

1946: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1947: Chicago Transit Authority Created

1948: First Issue of Chicago Sun-Times

Timeline of Chicago History from 1950-2000

1954: Lyric Theatre of Chicago, later named the Lyric Opera, was Founded

1955: Mayor Richard J. Daley Elected

1955: WTTW’s First Broadcast

1955: First Section of Congress Expressway Opened

1958: Our Lady of the Angels School Fire

1959: International Trade Fair Celebrates Opening of St. Lawrence Seaway—Queen Elizabeth’s Visit

1960: Northwest Expressway Completed

1960: Vice President Nixon was nominated for president at the Republican national convention in Chicago

1961: Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Championship

1961: The Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art Established

1962: Dan Ryan Expressway Opened

1963: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1963: O’Hare Airport Dedicated

1964: Southwest Expressway Completed

1966: Civic Center Dedicated

1966: Martin Luther King Jr. was stoned during a march in Chicago

1967: A record 23 inches of snow fell in Chicago

1967: McCormick Place Fire

1967: Museum of Contemporary Art Founded

1967: Picasso Statue Dedicated in Civic Center Plaza

1968: Democratic National Convention

1971: Union Stock Yard Closes

1972: Shakman Agreement Signed

1972: Chicago Botanic Gardens opens

1972: Crash of United Airlines Flight 553

1973: Sears Tower Completed—Becomes World’s Tallest Building

1974: Chagall’s Four Seasons Dedicated

1974: Calder’s Flamingo Dedicated

1975: Deep Tunnel Project Begins

1976: Mayor Richard J. Daley Dies at 74

1976: Civic Center Renamed Richard J. Daley Center

1977: Oldenburg’s Bat Column Dedicated

1977: First Running of Chicago Marathon

1978: Chicago Daily News, founded in 1875, published its last issue

1979: Jane Byrne Elected Mayor

1979: State Street Mall Opens

1979: Crash of American Airlines Flight 191

1981: Miro’s Chicago Dedicated

1982: First Major City to Ban Sale of Handguns

1982: Chicago Children’s Museum Founded

1983: Harold Washington Elected Mayor

1984: Rapid Transit Line Extended to O’Hare

1984: Dubuffet’s Monument with Standing Beast Unveiled

1985: State of Illinois Center (later James R. Thompson Center) Opens

1986: Chicago Bears Win NFL Championship

1986: The Chicago Theater Reopens

1986: Lake Shore Drive S-Curve Straightened

1987: Mayor Harold Washington Dies at 65

1989: Mayor Richard M. Daley Elected Mayor

1991: Chicago Bulls Win NBA Championship

1991: New Comiskey Park(U.S. Cellular Field) Opens

1992: Freight Tunnel Flood

1992: Chicago Bulls Win NBA Championship

1993: Chicago Bulls Win NBA Championship

1993: Orange Line Opens to Midway Airport

1994: Chicago Hosts World Cup

1994: The United Center, owned by the NBA Bulls and NHL Blackhawks, was completed for $175 million

1995: Navy Pier was redeveloped and became a popular tourist attraction.

1995: A heatwave was blamed for some 700 deaths this year

1996: National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum Opens

1996: State Street Revitalization

1996-98: Chicago Bulls Win NBA Championship

1998: Steppenwolf Theatre Company Wins National Medal of the Arts

1998: Chicago Fire Wins MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup

1999: Notebaert Nature Museum Opens

1999: City News Bureau Closes

Timeline of Chicago History from 2000 to Today

2000: Chicago Fire Wins U.S. Open Cup

2000: Field Museum Unveils “Sue,” the Tyrannosaurus rex

2003: Chicago Fire Wins U.S. Open Cup

2003: Meigs Field Closes

2004: Millennium Park Opens

2005: White Sox Sweep World Series

2006: Chicago Fire Wins Open Cup

2006: CTA Pink Line Begins Service

2006: Abakanowicz’s Agora Dedicated

2007: Chicago Wins Right to Represent US in Bid for 2016 Olympics

2008President-elect Barack Obama gives acceptance speech in Chicago’s Grant Park

2010: Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Championship

Quick Trivia for Kids about Chicago

Who founded the city of Chicago?

Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable founded a settlement called Eschikagou on the north bank of the Chicago River. However, he was not officially recognized as the city’s founder until 1968.

For how long were there stockyards in Chicago?

For 107 years, beginning in 1864, the mile-square Union Stock Yards stood at Halsted Street and Exchange Avenue. The Swift, Armour, and Wilson companies had planted there. The yards closed on July 31, 1971, and were demolished. Only the Union Stock Yard’s gate was preserved; it was named a Chicago landmark on February 24, 1972.

Did a cow really start the great Chicago fire of October 8, 1871?

While the fire did begin in a cow barn behind the cottage of Patrick O’Leary, there is no evidence that a cow was responsible. In fact, Michael Ahern later admitted he created the legend to make a better story. The fire lasted 227 hours, killing 250 people and destroying 17,450 buildings.

What was the Haymarket incident? 

On May 4, 1886, it took place at Chicago’s Haymarket Square during a peaceful rally to protest the killing three days earlier of six workers striking for the eight-hour day. Two hundred policemen were sent in to break up the rally. But, before they could, a dynamite bomb of unknown origin exploded, killing an undetermined number of civilians. Seven labor leaders were held responsible and condemned to death. Two had their sentences commuted to life; four were hanged; one killed himself.

Is Chicago the windiest city in the United States?

Far from it. With an average wind speed of 10.4 miles per hour, Chicago ranks 16th in the list of windy American cities. Here are the top five, with average wind speeds ( in miles per hour):

  1. Great Falls, Montana. 13.1
  2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 13
  3. BostonMassachusetts. 12.9
  4. Cheyenne, Wyoming. 12.8
  5. Wichita, Kansas. 12.7