With our first post, we want to touch base on the rich history and diverse culture of our beautiful Chicago. So much has been said about the greatest and largest city of the American Midwest, Chicago, including its incredible skyline and lifestyle. But what about its history? When was the city founded?
Well, Chicago was founded in 1830 as a transportation centre. It quickly developed into an industrial; metropolis and took up the role of processing and transporting the raw materials for the vast hinterland. The original inhabitants of the city were the Red Indians who named the city after there native wild leeks that grew on the bank of the Chicago river.
The great fire of 1871 and rebuilding
In late 1871, a great fire, whose initial spark is still unknown, engulfed almost one-quarter of the entire Chicago city. The fire destroyed numerous buildings and left almost 100,000 people homeless. The dry climate of the larger Chicago area is believed to have fuelled the fire that astonishingly spared both the transportation systems (railroads) and factories. This gave the city a fighting chance and in no time, the city was rebuilt at an amazing speed that surprised the world.
After the fire, Chicago emerged even stronger and in the late 1800’s the city grew as a national retail centre and a business hub that was recognized worldwide. In no time, Chicago produced a crop of brands name business tycoons like Philip Armour, George Pullman, PORTER Palmer and Marshall Field. In the year 1885, the world witnessed the unveiling of the first skyscraper in Chicago. T was the legendary Home Insurance building that had 10 storeys. This building increased the world interest on Chicago even further. This interest was witnessed in 1893 when more than 20 million people from all works of life converged in Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition. This was indeed the perfect time for Chicago to display its architectural prowess through its marvellous skyline.
Chicago’s diversity in culture, both in terms of ethnicity and of artistic aesthetics, reflects the wide system of roots from which it has evolved. Settled in sequence by Native, European, African, Asian and Latin Americans, and crafted over a hundred-year period through a hybridization of Victorian, French Second Empire, Queen Anne, Belle Epoque, Edwardian, Modern, and Postmodern social precepts, its tapestry contains a deep richness of heritage. This textured blend, sometimes synthesized but often reflected in a heterogeneous eclecticism, remains latent but prevalent within the city’s uniform grid of streets and carefully pruned downtown showplaces. Multiculturalism jumps to life especially in the “neighborhoods”, those communities away from the downtown center that retain indigenous history and identity.
Fine Arts, scholarship, and the celebration of scientific achievement have long had a home in Chicago, highlighted by such keystone institutions as Northwestern University (founded 1855), the Art Institute of Chicago (1879), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1889), the University of Chicago (1891), the Field Museum (1893), the Museum of Science and Industry (1893), the Chicago Public Library (1897; relocated 1991), the Ravinia Music Festival (1911), the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1954), and in more recent times the Chicago Film Festival (1964) and the Steppenwolf Theater Company (1976).
What’s your favorite part of Chicago? Give us your tips and recommnedations below!