Chicago Facts and Trivia
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- Lincoln Park was originally a large, 120-acre cemetery. In 1864, when the park was commissioned, thousands of graves were dug up and relocated to different cemeteries in the city. One of the few exceptions was the Couch family, whose large mausoleum still stands behind the Chicago History Museum.
- The first night game wasn’t played at Wrigley field until August 9, 1988, and they still play far fewer night games at Wrigley than any other Major League team.
- Everybody knows that the Great Chicago Fire began on October 8, 1871, and after raging for several days it took hundreds of lives and left more than 100,000 people homeless, but few know the actual cause of the fire. Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Ahern wrote in the paper that a cow owned by Catherin O’Leary had knocked over a lantern. Ahern later admitted to having fabricated the story, but many people still believe that O’Leary’s cow was responsible for the fire.
- The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago in 1885, and it was later demolished win 1931. The location – 135 S LaSalle St – is now inhabited by the LaSalle Bank Building.
- A statue of President Ulysses S. Grant stands in Lincoln Park, while Grant Park is home to a statue of Abraham Lincoln.
- Deep dish pizza was actually invented by a Texan, Ike Sewell, who opened Pizzeria Uno in 1943. The place was so popular that he had to open another location, Pizzeria Due, to satisfy the spillover crowds.
- The original name of Weeghman Park, which was opened in 1914 and became the Cubs’ home two years later. However, it wasn’t until 1926 that the name was changed to honor then-Cubs owner William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum mogul.
- The Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park originally served as the Palace of Fine Arts in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and it is the only surviving building from that world’s fair.
- The original Ferris wheel was named after George Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, and it was unveiled at Chicago’s 1893 world’s fair. The wheel was massive – more than 250 feet tall, and it could hold more than 2,000 people. After it was taken apart, parts of the original wheel were used to build a bridge across the Kankakee River, just south of Chicago.
- Chicago was home to the first Pullman sleeping car, which was invented by George Pullman.
- Chicago resident Jane Addams was the first American woman to win a Noble Peace Prize. Addams co-founded the Hull House, one of the city’s first settlement houses.
- The Chicago Board of Trade is the world’s largest and oldest futures and options exchange.
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