November 25, 2003

What Do You Know?

About Chicago and its history...

Chicago was originally founded by a Haitian, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable. He was a black man, and not officially recognized as the city's founder until 1968.

Around 1772 or 1773, Du Sable left Peoria and explored north to an area called Eschikagou by the Indians. DuSable settled in the area and built the first permanent home on the north bank of the Chicago River. He established a trading post and became quite wealthy.

Du Sable's granddaughter was born in 1796--the first child born in Chicago.

The Great Chicago Fire started in a cow barn, but there is no evidence a cow started it. A newspaper reporter, Michael Ahern, admitted he made it up to make a better story.

The Chicago Stockyards were closed and demolished in 1971. Only the Union Stock Yards' gate still stands as a landmark.

The Chicago Tribune was the first paper to run regular movie reviews.

Dr. Scholl started out as a shoemaker in Chicago, eventually turning to podiatry.

Chicago is not the windiest ranks only 16th in the United States. Great Falls, Montana is actually the windiest city in the country.

The 10-story Home Insurance Company Building in Chicago was the first skyscraper. It was finished in 1885 and demolished in 1931. It was the first tall building to have a frame of iron and steel instead of masonry.

The Sears Tower is 1454 feet and 110 stories tall.

O'Hare Airport is named for Edward Henry O'Hare, who shot down five Japanese planes on November 27, 1943. He died in the battle, but was credited with saving the U.S. aircraft carrier Lexington. ***Update: a correction to the dates of O'Hare's battles is here.

Mickey Finn was a turn-of-the-century Chicago bartender who served a spiked drink to patrons he wanted to rob.

Al Capone is one of Chicago's most notorious sons, but he grew up in Brooklyn.

"Chicago overcoat" was a 1920s mafia term for coffin.

"Chicago amnesia" was a 1920s mafia term regarding witnesses who suddenly forgot what they had seen.

The first baseball All-Star game was played at Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. The AL won, 4-2.

The original Big Ten Conference included the University of Chicago. They dropped out in 1946 when they ended their football program.

Posted by Jennifer at November 25, 2003 08:00 PM


I like what the comedian(I think it was Richard Jenni, but I don't remember exactly) stated about how Chicago was founded. It started with people in New York who said, "You know, I really like the high crime rate and overcrowding, but it's just not cold enough. Let's move west."

Posted by: physics geek at November 25, 2003 10:36 PM

You need to check you O'Hare story. The Lexington was lost at the battle of the Coral Sea in May of 42.

Posted by: Pete at November 26, 2003 11:00 AM