Sunday, July 17, 2022

An illustration looking due west on the Chicago River in 1831.

An illustration looking due west on the Chicago River in 1831.

The first building on the left is the Post Office of John S.C. Hogan, which stood near the corner of Lake and Market Sts. There was only one delivery a week coming from Niles, Michigan, which came from the East. 

The next building was the Sauganash Tavern which stood on the corner of Lake and Market Streets and was run by Mark Beaubien

In the distance, the small tip of a building was that of Jesse Walker, which was used as a church, a school, and a residence. 

The building at the point where the north and south branches meet was the Wolf Point Tavern, but later, in 1833, it was renamed the Travelers Home by Chester Ingersoll. 

Note the footbridge over the north branch.

To the right and north at the forks stood the Miller House, and it is said it was in part built by Alexander Robinson in 1820. In 1829, the proprietors were Samuel Miller and Archibald Clybourn, and in 1832 it was occupied as a store by P.F.W. Peck while his new frame store was under construction.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

How and When did Chicago get the moniker "The Windy City?"

Fort Dearborn and the Chicago River.

Chicago's nickname, "The Windy City,” is usually attributed to an editorial by Charles A. Dana in the New York Sun, written in 1889 or 1890 when Chicago and New York were competing to host the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Dana reportedly took Chicago's blustering politicians to task for excessive boasting about the merits of their city. The power of the name lies in the metaphorical use of “windy” for “talkative” or “boastful.” Chicago politicians early became famous for long-windedness, and the Midwestern metropolis's central location as a host city for political conventions helped cement the association of Chicago with loquacious politicians, thus underlying the nickname with double meaning. But this story, however often repeated, is a myth!

Etymologist (the study of the origin of words) Barry Popik was the first to show that "Windy City" as a sobriquet (nickname) for Chicago predated the alleged editorial by many years. Popik traced the origin of the term to 1876 in Cincinnati, where a story in the Cincinnati Enquirer for May of that year reported on the Cincinnati Red Stockings' trip to Chicago to play baseball in the "Windy City." 

Since Popik's first report, Fred Shapiro has provided an even earlier citation. The Daily Cleveland Herald of June 4, 1870, reported, "CLEVELAND vs. CHICAGO. The Great Game between the Forest City and Chicago Clubs — the Windy City Wins by a Score of 15 to 9 — a Hotly Contested Game.” 

A decade earlier, in its July 4, 1860, issue, the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel contained the following: "We are proud of Milwaukee because she is not overrun with a lazy police force as is Chicago — because her morals are better, her criminals fewer, her credit better, and her taxes lighter in proportion to her valuation than Chicago, the windy city of the West."

As it turns out, the term 
"Windy City" referring to Chicago came about through baseball's sports writers.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.