Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is a North American city located in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the third most populous urban area in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles.
Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city rebuilt. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900, less than 30 years after the great fire, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts, issued by the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is part of the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures alone.
- It's every man for himself in this hired air. / Yet once you've come to be part of this particular patch, you'll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.
- [About Chicago:] An October sort of city even in spring.
- This is virgin territory out here for whorehouses.
- Al Capone, referring to suburban Chicago, as quoted in The Bootleggers and Their Era (1961) by Kenneth Alsop
- They have the time
The time or their life
I saw a man
He danced with his wife
In Chicago, my home town.
- Song "Chicago" (lyrics Fred Fisher)
- I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago… Having seen it, I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.
- I came to discover that Chicago is that most American of American cities, but one where citizens from more than 130 nations inhabit a rich tapestry of distinctive neighborhoods. Each one of those neighborhoods -- from Greektown to the Ukrainian Village; from Devon to Pilsen to Washington Park -- has its own unique character, its own unique history, its songs, its language. But each is also part of our city -- one city -- a city where I finally found a home.
- Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders.
- Carl Sandburg, "Chicago" (1916)
- I tried not to make judgments. These people were doing something important, all of them. They were testing ways whereby people didn’t have to live in Chicago. That was a wonder to me. I had thought Chicago was inevitable, like diarrhea.
- John Varley, The Persistence of Vision in Nebula Winners Fourteen, p. 4.