Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is located in the northeastern part of Illinois and is the largest city in the U.S. state of Illinois. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to world-championship sports teams, an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, 200 theaters, 200 art galleries, more than 7,300 restaurants and 552 parks.

To See And To Do In Chicago

  • Magnificent Mile - Shopping Street
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Theaters
  • Lincoln Park
  • Hyde Park
  • The Swedish American Museum
  • Field Museum of Natural History
  • Downtown
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium
  • The Prairie Avenue Historic District
  • Bridgehouse And Chicago River Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Loyola University Museum of Art
  • Old Town
  • Heritage Gallery
  • Field Museum of Natural History

History Of Chicago - Timeline

The first Europeans came to the Chicago area in the 17th century. In 1673, records show that French explorers arrived. They camped a few days but soon left. In 1677, the Jesuit priest Jean Claude Allouez arrived and tried to convert the natives to Christianity. He named Lake Michigan, Lac Illiniones (the Lake of the Illinois) because the Indians lived on the shores. His name is engraved on the Marquette Monument in the city.

In 1682, French explorers again arrived. They built a stockade and stayed for the winter. In 1696, Father François Pinet, a French Jesuit priest, established the Mission of the Guardian Angel at Chicago. The mission was abandoned in 1700.

Images - The Fox Tribe
The Fox Tribe

In 1705, French traders arrived at the area. Soon a conflict developed between French traders and the Fox tribe. For more than three decades the Fox tribe fought against the French. In 1778, a trader named Guillory had a trading-post in present Chicago.

Chicago's First Permanent Resident

In 1778/1779, Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, a free black man, built a house and a trading post on the Chicago River on the spot of today's Pioneer Court. He is regarded as the first permanent resident of Chicago and is given the appellation "Founder of Chicago". He was born to a Haitian slave and a French pirate and he was married to a woman from the Potawatomi tribe. In 1796, du Sable and his wife had a baby. (Eulalia Point du Sable). It is the first recorded birth in Chicago. In 1800, the du Sable family left Chicago.

In 1803, United States troops built Fort Dearborn. It was a log-built fort enclosed in a double stockade, with two blockhouses. In 1804, fur traders arrived and a small settlement grew around the fort. The settlement was started by John Kinzie. In 1812, John Kinzie killed a worker at Fort Dearborn. It was the first murder in Chicago. Also in 1812, Potawatomi Indians attacked Fort Dearborn. The fort was burned down and soldiers and settlers were captured.

The First Policeman In Chicago

In 1828 the Chicago had its first policeman. In 1833, the Chicago Weekly Democrat, the first newspapers in Chicago, was published. Also in 1833, Chicago was incorporated as a town and as a city in 1837. In the 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, and later, Swedes, Irish, Germans, English and Dutch came to the city to build houses, to work with farming, the railroads, stockyards, and other heavy industry. In 1842, the Washington Square Park was constructed. In 1844, the city's first public school was built near Madison and State streets. In 1847, the Chicago Tribune was published.

Images - Illinois and Michigan Canal
Illinois and Michigan Canal

In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built. Also in 1848, the telegraph came to Chicago. In 1850, the construction of railroads made Chicago a major hub. Over 30 lines entered the city. The same year the gas lamps were erected on Lake Street and several adjacent blocks. In 1851, the Northwestern University was founded. In 1852, the Mercy Hospital was established. In 1855, the Police Department was created. In 1869, The Chicago Water Tower was completed.

Most of the buildings in Chicago were made of wood and they burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire left 300 Chicagoans dead and 90,000 homeless. In 1877, the telephone came to Chicago. In 1885, the world's first skyscraper, The Home Insurance Building, was erected on LaSalle Street.

In 1890, the University of Chicago was founded. In 1892, Chicago's rapid transit system, known as the "L", opened. The first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago in 1893, and the Chicago Harbor Light was constructed. The same year, Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. was assassinated.

It Is Often Said That The Swedes Built Chicago

Images - Swedish Carpenters
Swedish Carpenters

In 1900, Chicago had the second largest Swedish population of any city in the world. Only the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, had more. Many of the carpenters were Swedish and it is often said that the Swedes built Chicago. Swedish was the language used in the construction business. In 1903, more than 600 people died in a fire at the Iroquois Theater. It is the deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history.

On 24 July 1915, the steamer Eastland was taking on passengers when it rolled over in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew were killed. In 1919, 38 people died and 537 people were injured during a race riot in the city. In 1920, the ground was broken for the Wrigley Building. In 1921, the Tribune Tower was completed and The Chicago Theatre was built.

In 1929, seven men were lined up against a wall of a garage and executed. Al Capone and his gang were behind it. In 1931, Al Capone was found guilty of evading $231,000 in income taxes and sentenced by a Chicago federal court to 11 years in prison. John Dillinger was shot by the FBI in 1934 on Lincoln Avenue.

In 1942, the world's first controlled nuclear reaction was conducted at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. In 1958, the Our Lady of the Angels School Fire broke out. 92 pupils and 3 nuns lost their lives.

Chicago's First Subway

In 1943, Chicago's first subway opened under Clybourn, Division, and State Streets. In 1950, Leonard and Phil Chess founded Chess Records. In 1958, 92 students and 3 nuns were killed in a fire at the Christian school "Our Lady of the Angels". In 1969, the John Hancock Center was completed. In 1973, the Sears Tower/Willis Tower was completed. It was at the time the tallest building in the world.

In 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed moments after takeoff from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. 273 people were killed including two people on the ground. In 2004, the Millennium Park opened. In 2013, the NHL team Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the 5th time.