Portal:Chicago

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Chicago's population of approximately 3 million people and its metropolitan area of over 9 million people make it the third-most populous city and metropolitan area in the United States. Adjacent to Lake Michigan, it is the largest Great Lakes city and among the world's 25 largest urban areas by population. Incorporated as a city in 1837 after being founded in 1833 at the site of a portage, it became a transportation hub in North America and the financial capital of the Midwest. Since the World's Fair of 1893, it has been regarded as one of the ten most influential cities in the world. For example, diverse events such as Chicago Pile-1, the first man made nuclear reactor, and Chicago school architecture have changed human history, and the way urban spaces are organized. Chicago boasts some of the world's tallest buildings (Willis Tower, and Trump International Hotel and Tower). The University of Chicago is a leader in many fields and has contributed to academic thought, such as the Chicago school of economics or Chicago school of sociology.

Today, Chicago has diverse cultural offerings: teams from each of the major league sports (Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox), a financial district anchored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on LaSalle Street in the Chicago Board of Trade Building, and an arts culture anchored by the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park as well as Chicago Landmarks such as Wrigley Field. The Magnificent Mile is a fitting tribute for a city that has revolutionized retail merchandising with mail order catalogs, the money-back guarantee, bridal registry and using posted prices on goods.

Chicago hosts O'Hare (the world's second busiest) and Midway International Airports as well as the renowned 'L' rapid transit system. Chicago was once the capital of the railroad industry and the nation's meatpacking had its hub at the Union Stock Yards. Chicago has seen the influence of Al Capone. Recent members of the Cook County Democratic Party from Chicago include Chicago Mayors Richard J. Daley and his son Richard M. Daley, Chicago's first African-American Mayor, Harold Washington, the first African-American female United States Senator, Carol Mosley-Braun, and the first African-American United States President, former Senator Barack Obama.

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Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar
The Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar was a fifty-cent commemorative coin issued by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936, part of the wave of commemoratives authorized by Congress and struck that year. Intended to commemorate the centennial of the founding of Elgin, the piece was designed by local sculptor Trygve Rovelstad. The obverse depicts an idealized head of a pioneer man. The reverse shows pioneers based upon a sculptural group that Rovelstad hoped to build as a memorial to those who settled Illinois, but which was not erected in his lifetime. Rovelstad had heard of other efforts to authorize commemorative coins, which were sold by the Mint to a designated group at face value and then retailed a premium. In 1935, he had legislation introduced into the House of Representatives for a commemorative coin in honor of Elgin's centennial that year. Rovelstad hoped that the proposed coin would both depict and be a source of funds for his memorial to the pioneers. Texas coin dealer L.W. Hoffecker contacted Rovelstad to offer assistance—Hoffecker had been behind the Old Spanish Trail half dollar, issued in 1935. The bill for the Elgin coin did not pass until 1936. Hoffecker was able to sell about 20,000 coins, four-fifths of the issue: the remaining 5,000 were returned to the Mint for melting. Unlike many commemorative coins of that era, the piece was sold directly to collectors at the issue price. Art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the Elgin coin among the most outstanding American commemoratives.

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Chicago skyline
Credit: Buphoff

The Chicago skyline featuring several of the tallest buildings in the world as viewed from Lake Michigan.

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Deng shot 121407.jpg

The Chicago Bulls are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Chicago, Illinois. Dick Klein founded the Bulls in 1966 after six other professional basketball teams in Chicago had failed. In 42 Chicago Bulls seasons, the Bulls have achieved a winning record 20 times, and have appeared in the NBA playoffs 27 times. They received international recognition in the 1990s when All-Star shooting guard Michael Jordan led them to their six league championships. The only NBA franchises that have won more championships than the Bulls are the Boston Celtics (17 championships) and Los Angeles Lakers (14). The Bulls initially competed in the NBA's Western Division. The Western Division was renamed the Western Conference in 1970, and was split into the Midwest and Pacific Divisions. The Bulls played in the Midwest Division until 1980, when they moved to the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. (Read more...)

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Millennium Park

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Harold Innis
Harold Innis was a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on Canadian economic history, media, and communication theory. In spite of his dense and difficult prose, Innis is considered by many scholars to have been one of Canada's most original thinkers. He helped develop the staples thesis, which holds that Canada's culture, political history and economy have been decisively influenced by the exploitation and export of a series of staples such as fur, fish, wood, wheat, mined metals and fossil fuels. Innis's communications writings explore the role of media in shaping the culture and development of civilizations. He argued, for example, that a balance between oral and written forms of communication contributed to the flourishing of Greek civilization in the 5th century BC. He warned however that Western civilization is now imperilled by powerful, advertising-driven media obsessed by "present-mindedness" and the "continuous, systematic, ruthless destruction of elements of permanence essential to cultural activity".

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"Chicago is a sort of journalistic Yellowstone Park, offering haven to a last herd of fantastic bravos." — Ben Hecht

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Blackstone Hotel
The Blackstone Hotel is located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Balbo Street in the Michigan Boulevard Historic District in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. This 290 feet (88 m) 21-story hotel was built from 1908 to 1910 and designed by Marshall and Fox. On May 29, 1998, the Blackstone Hotel was designated as a Chicago Landmark. The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1986. It is also a historic district contributing property for the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. The hotel was named for Timothy Blackstone, a notable Chicago business executive and politician, who served as the founding president of the Union Stock Yards, president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad and mayor of La Salle, Illinois. The hotel is famous for celebrity guests including numerous U.S. Presidents, for which it was known as the "Hotel of Presidents" for much of the 20th century. The hotel known for contributing the term "smoke-filled room" to political parlance. The hotel fell disrepair that necessitated closure and renovation. It reopened on March 6, 2008 after a $128 million renovation under the Marriott International Renaissance Hotels brand still using the Blackstone name.

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Did you know?

  • Adriana Pirtea

...that Adriana Pirtea (pictured on right in picture) lost the 2007 Chicago Marathon to Berhane Adere when Adere slipped down the side of the street and crossed outside of the finish-line tape?


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