Chicago December 09, 2017
12 Things You Didn’t Know About The History Of Chicago
For as many things as you know about Chicago, there are just as many things you don’t know. These 12 intriguing historical facts will enlighten you to some key Chicago trivia. This city is a more interesting place than you may have thought. Read on for the history lesson they didn’t give you in school.
1. The first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize was from Chicago.
Chicago resident Jane Addams was honored in 1931 with the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the first women to ever win. She was recognized due to her charitable deeds and work for women's and immigrants' rights.
2. We we also home to America's first serial killer.
H. H. Holmes is considered the first serial killer ever in the country. He lured women visiting Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair to his castle-like hotel, where he would murder them. Though it has been torn down, the hotel was known as the Chicago Murder House. Holmes was executed in 1896 for his crimes.
3. There are only a handful of buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire.
One of the most iconic legends about Chicago tells the tale of a fire allegedly ignited by an absent-minded cow in 1871. What you may not know is that only about seven buildings survived that horrific event, including a couple churches, a college, and the old Water Tower on Michigan Avenue.
4. America's first blood bank was right here in Chicago.
In 1937, the first blood bank was opened at the Cook County Hospital. This lead to many more opening across the United States, mostly in the form of Red Cross facilities.
5. Al Capone made $60 million in one year in Chicago.
During prohibition in 1927, Al Capone and his gang moved enough liquor to supply multiple underground operations. He made enough money in his short lifetime to live lavishly.
6. Chicago means "wild garlic."
Formerly "Chicagoua," our city's name is derived from an Algonquin word that means "wild garlic" or "onion field." That is a large majority of what used to grow here before it became a concrete oasis.
7. Wrigley was once called "Weeghman Park."
It just doesn't quite have the same ring as Wrigley. Nevertheless, this iconic baseball field wasn't Wrigley until the 1920s, though it opened in 1914.
8. The first sustained atom fission reaction was achieved at the University of Chicago.
Trying to cut into anything microscopically small can be a great ordeal! In 1942, this incredible feat was achieved for the first time beneath the football field of the University of Chicago.
9. The Lincoln Park Zoo's first animal was a bear cub.
The first creature to wow and amaze Chicagoans was a bear like this one. The cub cost only $10! Another historical fact about this place is that it's one of the only free zoos still operating in North America.
10. Our river runs backward.
To help with sanitation problems, the Chicago River was reversed to flow toward the Mississippi River rather than into Lake Michigan. This incredible feat was achieved through a system of canal locks in 1900.
11. We are home to the most complete dinosaur fossil in the world.
Sue stands proud and tall, greeting all who arrive at the Field Museum. It is known as the most complete T-Rex ever found, though it will soon be replaced by an even larger dinosaur. Sue will be moved to another part of the museum once the new
Patagotitan mayorum arrives. This plant eater's skeletal form is a nearly complete cast that visitors will be able to touch.
12. Chicago was raised.
razed... raised. As in lifted up! To help with an impending sewage problem in the mid-1800s, Chicago was actually lifted up at the center. Using hydraulic jacks and jackscrews, streets and buildings were literally raised up several feet to give it a more natural way of draining when it rained.
Chicago’s historical facts are part of what make it great. Check out
16 other reasons why ours is the best city in America.
What other historical facts about Chicago do most people not know? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!