Chicago General Information
Everyone knows what city someone is talking about when they refer to the "Windy
City". Chicago hosts a world of ethnic and religious diversity, world-class
educational institutions and shopping, plus commerce and industry enveloped
within incomparable architecture. Most cities pale in comparison to this urban
enclave whose stunning skyline erupts from the western shores of Lake Michigan.
||Chicago got its most famous nickname in 1893,
when, after growing exasperated with the long-winded boastings of the city's
politicians, Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, dubbed it 'the Windy
City.' Because of its strategic location, Chicago became a hub for roads,
canals, railways and airplanes. Indeed, this transport web made Chicago
famous. In the 1920s, during the Prohibition, gangsters like Al Capone and
police adversaries like Eliot Ness made it infamous.
The Windy City has always prided itself on being a centre for varied
culture. All year round, there are festivals, exhibitions, parades and full
programs of theatre, dance, art and all types of music, including a
The famous Art Institute is home to an impressive collection of French
Impressionists, as well as American artist Grant Wood's classic work,
Works by René Magritte and Andy Warhol can be found at the Museum of
Contemporary Art. Ernest Hemingway was born in the near west suburb of Oak
Park, which he described ungenerously as full of 'wide lawns and narrow
Famous architects such as Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd
Wright, as well as the Prairie School of Architecture, thrived here. Fittingly,
with architecture being perhaps the ultimate combination of industry and art,
the world's first steel-framed skyscraper, the Reliance Building (now the Hotel
Burnham) was built here.
The modern city focuses on the area known as the Loop, where the raised
metropolitan railway (known as the 'El' or 'L') circles the central Downtown
business and shopping district. The city stretches north, south, and west, the
east side being the lake. Chicago is one of the most culturally diverse cities
both in the USA and in the world.
Over 50 languages are spoken here. One can easily gauge the city's multitude of
cultures just by checking its list of annual ethnic parades and festivals.
Today, the city's economy no longer relies upon the heavy industries of steel
production or meatpacking. Instead, it leans toward communications, information
technology and financial institutions as well as research and development both
in commerce and in its academic faculties.
Hard-working Chicagoans love sports, both as participants and fans. Many can be
seen playing along the lakeshores. In fact, this energy and the lake combine
well to represent Chicago in a way quite similar to how the original American
Indians thought of it.
They named it 'Checaugou', after the River Checaugou (Chicago River), which
flowed into Lake Michigan. The word translates as 'strong' or 'great' and
modern-day Chicago certainly lives up to this heritage.
Chicago is a city of contrasts: raging winters and seductive summers, crowded
highways and tranquil parks, famous people and friendly folks. It might be
called the 'Second City', but its spectrum is second to none.
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