Chicago Has More Than 25 NicknamesMost visitors are familiar with the term “The Windy City” and perhaps “Chi-Town,” but these same visitors might not realize that Chicago has more than 25 other nicknames. Some other prominent nicknames are “City of Broad Shoulders” and “Hog Butcher for the World” (taken from Carl Sandberg’s 1916 poem “Chicago”), “Second City, “City by the Lake” and “Chicagoland.” The term “Second City” has been considered derogatory in that it can refer to the rebuilding of the city after the Great Chicago Fire (creation of the second city) and its status in relation to New York City. Incidentally, the Great Chicago Fire was not started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and instead the story was fabricated by Michael Ahern, a police reporter from the Chicago Tribune, who admitted 22 years later that he made it all up.
Chicago’s Backwards RiverChicago may have the only river in the world that goes backward. Instead of naturally flowing into Lake Michigan, engineers completely reversed the direction of the Chicago River due to increasing pollution to the city’s drinking water. Using the Chicago Sanitary and Ship canals, the Chicago River began flowing into the Mississippi River in 1900. Nowadays, the Chicago River is better known for the St. Patrick’s Day tradition of dyeing the river green.
Flag of ChicagoAdopted in 1917, the official flag of Chicago has four red stars bounded by three horizontal bars and two blue horizontal bars. The three white stripes represent sections of the city – North, West and South – while the top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the north branch of the Chicago River and the bottom blue strip represents the south branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal. The four, six-pointed red stars represent famous landmarks or events in the city’s history.
The first star represents Fort Dearborn and the six points signify transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness and salubrity. The second star represents the 1871 Chicago Fire and the points signify religion, education, esthetics, justice, beneficence and civic pride. The third star represents the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the points signify the history of the area – France 1693, Great Britain 1763, Virginia 1778, Northwest Territory 1798, Indian Territory 1802 and Illinois Statehood 1818. The final star represents the 1993 Century of Progress Exposition, with the six points representing World’s Largest City, Chicago’s Latin Motto, the I Will Motto, Great Central Market, Wonder City and Convention City.
Original Name of Wrigley FieldCelebrating its 100th anniversary earlier this year, Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark still in operation and the oldest in the National League. Originally named Weeghman Park, the facility was built for the Chicago Federals baseball team of the Federal League. Created as the third major baseball league, the Federal League folded in 1915 and the team was renamed the Chicago Whales. The Chicago Cubs, who were originally known as the Chicago White Stockings in 1870, played their first baseball game at the legendary ballpark in 1916 and from 1920 to 1926, the park was known as Cubs Park. It wasn’t until 1927 that the stadium was called Wrigley Field, named after Cubs owner William Wrigley Jr., who led the most famous chewing gum company that bears his name.
Starting and Ending Points of Route 66The starting and ending points of one of America’s most famous highways can be found in Chicago. Although the location has changed over the years, the current starting point sign for Route 66 is located at Adams Street at Michigan Avenue, in front of the Art Institute of Chicago. Although the western terminus of the “Main Street of America” is located at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica, the end of Route 66 sign can be found at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The actual recognized ending point is located at the corner of East Jackson Drive and Lake Shore Drive, near the shores of Lake Michigan.