Susan's Blog - Chicago 2016

We've heard people talk about what a great city Chicago is ... and our only experience with Chicago is O'Hare ... so we decided to take a long weekend and see what everybody was talking about. Chicago is the 3rd most populous city in the US with 2.7 million residents, and 10 million in the metro area. The first reference to Chicago dates back to a 1679 memoir with the word "chicagoua". The area was inhabited by Native Americans until the 1780's when Jean Baptiste Point du Sable arrived in the 1780s. He is commonly known as the Founder of Chicago.

Early-on, it was a pretty fast-growing city, starting in 1833 with 200 people and then growing to more than 4,000 just 7 years later. It was officially incorporated in 1837 and for several decades, was the fastest growing city in the world. It continued to grow until 1871, when the Great Chicago Fire destroyed a large section of the city. The amount of damage was due to the way the buildings were constructed, and so the new city was built using modern constructions of steel and stone. During its rebuilding period, Chicago constructed the world's first skyscraper in 1885, using steel-skeleton construction.

Chicago continued to grow and expand and that flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe. Of the total population in 1900, more than 77% were either foreign-born or born in the United States of foreign parentage. Germans, Irish, Poles, Swedes and Czechs made up nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born population. In the early 1900's, the major expansion in industry attracted African-Americans from the South, and between 1910 and 1930, the African-American population of Chicago increased dramatically. This "great migration" in Chicago is similar to the same great migration that New York City saw.