Chicago, IL Facts

Chicago's metro population is 9,157,540; the city population is 2,896,016.

In 1673, the first Europeans reached the land that is now Chicago. With the help of local Native Americans, Louis Joliet, a Canadian explorer, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit born in France, discovered the area together.

No one knows what sparked the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which started in Patrick O'Leary's cow barn. Flames ravaged the city, destroying 17,450 buildings. Within six weeks, the people of the city had already commenced rebuilding 300 buildings.

One famous Chicago landmark is Buckingham Fountain. Built in 1927, it is one of the world's largest fountains, and holds 1.5 million gallons of water. The four seahorses on the fountain symbolize the four states that touch Lake Michigan: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Every 20 minutes, the fountain shoots a jet of water 150 feet into the air, and at dusk the display features lights and music.

The Sears Tower is 1,400 feet tall and has 110 stories. If you take the Sears Tower Sky Deck, you'll ride the 'Elevator to the Stars' and land on the 1353-foot high Sky Deck. From your view on the 103rd floor, you can see four states!

The first ferris wheel in the world premiered in Chicago at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, held to celebrate 400 years since Columbus discovered America. The wheel was 250 feet in diameter, and had a 45-ton axle. Dubbed 'The World's Greatest Ride,' the ferris wheel was reused in 1904 at the St. Louis Worlds Fair, and then promptly dynamited and sold for scrap metal.

Frank Sinatra added to the immortality of the windy city in his lyrics, '...each time I roam, Chicago is calling me home, Chicago is one town that won't let you down.'

Chicago has numerous nicknames, including:

  • Chicago, Pride of the Rustbelt
  • City of the Big Shoulders
  • Gem of the Prairie
  • Hog Butcher to the World
  • 'I Will' City
  • Packingtown
  • Second City
  • Windy City

Chicago's latin motto is Urbs in Horto, meaning 'City in a Garden.'

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