back when, before we had SUV Limos in Chicago, when the closet
thing you could find to a Limousine was a horse and buggy lived
the first resident of Chicago. His name was Jean Baptiste Point
du Sable, a fur trader from Santo Domingo of French-African descent.
DuSable built the first settlement in 1779 at the mouth of the
In 1830, lots were sold to finance construction of what would become the Illinois
and Michigan Canal, connecting Chicago with the Mississippi River. Three years
later, with a booming population of 350, the Town of Chicago was incorporated,
drawing its name from an Indian word meaning "strong" or "great".
In 1837, the town was incorporated as a city with a population of 4,170. Chicago
cemented its role as a transportation hub in 1848 when the Illinois and Michigan
Canal was completed, and the first locomotive arrived. The population tripled
in the following three years.
On Oct. 8, 1871, a fire began on the West Side. Two days later, the Great Chicago
Fire had claimed 300 lives, left 90,000 Chicagoans without homes and destroyed
$200 million worth of property. The disaster was turned into an opportunity to
plan and rebuild the entire city.
In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbia Exposition that attracted nearly
26million visitors during its six-month run. In order to provide ground transportation
to the fair (They didn't have the luxary of riding in a Navigator Limousine or
a Hummer Limo), the Chicago Transit Authority introducted the first elevated
trains to Chicago. Today, the system's 'L' train encircles the city's central
business district, referred to as "the Loop."
Chicago's cultural interests can be traced to this era, when its orchestra, library
and major museums were established. The Columbian Exposition's Palace of Fine
Arts is now home to the Museum of Science and Industry.
In 1909, the newly-formed Chicago Plan Commission published Daniel Burnham's
comprehensive plan. The city's unobstructed lakefront, its city-wide system of
parks and its green belt of forest preserves were all part of this unique plan,
the first ever presented to an American city.
Chicago's multicultural heritage is reflected in its neighborhoods, which now
attract thousands of visitors each year. Chicago is home to nearly three million
people from all over the world including African Americans, Asians, Europeans,
Hispanice, Native Americans and more.
As each new group has come to Chicago, their unique community spirit, typified
by Chicago's motto "I will," has enabled them to build a new community,
new life and new future. This spirit is responsible for a city that has never
stopped dreaming, building, rebuilding, growing and making major contributions
to the world.
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