Chicago’s famous moniker is “The Windy City.” It’s a very windy place enough but not the windiest city in the United States to merit the title. It’s called so because, once upon a time, Chicagoans had the dubious reputation of being braggarts.
You didn’t know that? Well, here you go! It’s a good start for you to discover other lesser known but more interesting facts about this Illinois city. Let’s move on and click this gallery to find more about them!
The city played a critical role in developing the country’s first true blood bank. A Hungarian-American doctor by the name of Bernard Fantus established and organized the first blood bank at the city’s Cook County Hospital. He also coined the term “blood bank.”
Obviously, tourism is one of Chicago’s biggest moneymakers — it alone has brought about $12.8 billion to the city’s economy.
Chicago is not only known for its downtown skyline. The city has lots of exciting and enjoyable things offer for tourists from other states and abroad. There are several shopping options, including upscale chains along the Magnificent Mile and State Street as well as retail stores. There are also countless restaurants, several historical landmarks and magnificent architecture, museums featuring old and contemporary art as well as important artifacts, and lively nightlife scene. Not to be surely missed when you’re in Chicago is going to the Navy Pier on the Lake Michigan — it’s Chicago’s number one tourist attraction.
Lincoln Park Zoo, located within Lincoln Park, was founded in 1868 making it one of the oldest zoos not only in the United States but also in the whole world. It’s also one country’s oldest zoos with a free admission.
Walt Disney was born in a predominantly Hispanic community called Hermosa in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1901. He rose to become one of the greatest innovators in animation history. Without him there would be no Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the theme parks, and the blockbuster and classic animated movies that we’ve grown to love. He died in Burbank, California in 1966.
This festival, named The Taste of Chicago or just The Taste, is held every summer at the city’s Grant Park. Chicago’s annual food (and also non-food) extravaganza was first established in 1980. It particularly showcases the pride of the Chicago’s food such as Chicago-style deep-pan pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, barbecue ribs, Eli’s Cheesecake, Italian beef and so much more. Apart from the food, tourists and food fanatics also get to enjoy music performed by several acts. The festival draws millions of crowds each year.
Aerosol paint aka spray paint was invented by Edward Seymour of Sycamore, a city just northwest of Chicago. At his wife’s Bonnie’s suggestion, Edward thought of pouring paint into the existing aerosol can.
He found out that it was much easier to dispense paint using the aerosol can compared to using paintbrushes or rollers. Apart from that, Seymour also saw a big business potential of the spray paint. He soon founded his own company Seymour of Sycamore. It’s now known as just Seymour, which is one of the biggest paint manufacturers in the world.
There’s something more for Chicagoans to get so “windy”: having the longest continuous street not only in the city but in the the world as well! The Western Avenue, located at 2400 West, takes the top recognition. It measures 23.5 miles long. If you include its southern extension to the Dixie Highway at Sibley Boulevard, Western Avenue would have an additional 3.88 miles (6.24 kilometers), totaling it to 27.38 miles.
During the late 19th century, the flow of the Chicago River was re-directed away from the Michigan Lake — through the amazing feat by civil engineering. This was an effort to keep pollution out of the lake, the source of the city’s drinking water.
However, as heavy rains and storms threaten to flood the city, its water storage facilities such as tunnels and reservoirs were almost in their full capacity. This would prompt the officials to “re-reverse” the flow of the Chicago River back into Lake Michigan. The river has actually experienced a lot of “reversals”, particularly during severe storms.
In the aftermath of the Chicago Great Fire, England started its project to donate books to the burnt-out city. As a result, more than 8,000 book donations were given to Chicago; donors including Queen Victoria, Benjami Disraeli, and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Because of the overwhelming number of books donations, the town leaders petitioned to the mayor to hold a meeting and plan in building a library, which eventually came into fruition. The Chicago Public Library was built directly from the ashes of the fire and first opened its doors on July 1, 1873.
The zoo’s first actual purchase was a bear cub, bought for $10 from the Philadelphia Zoo. The bear cub now joins the zoo’s very first animals, a pair of swans, which was a gift from New York’s Central Park.
The Wrigley Building was built during the early 20th century; its land for the construction was chosen by the chewing gum magnate himself, William Wrigley Jr. The structure had the first air-conditioning system in Chicago, and that was a pretty new technology during that time.
After Ray Kroc bought the small burger joint from brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, he son opened the first franchised restaurant in 1955. Five years later, Kroc bought the exclusive rights of the name McDonald’s… and the rest is burger history.
That very first franchised restaurant was built in Des Plaines, a suburb of Chicago. Unfortunately, it was eventually demolished in 1984 despite having gone through several remodels.
Softball, which is a variant of baseball, was invented in Chicago in 1887, originally as an indoor game. The first known game was held at the Farragut Boat Club on Thanksgiving Day that year. And the first softball? It was a actually a boxing glove pressed into round shape.