Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago Traveler Blog

Happy Birthday Chicago! Has it Been 175 Years Already?!

3/2/12 | by

It’s time to celebrate! Chicago turns 175 on Sunday, March 4th! I think the proper term is... uhhhh demisemiseptcentennial???

Hasn’t it aged so well though? Doesn’t look a day over 100. The lights are brighter, the culture is more diverse and the buildings are taller and stronger than ever.

Although you can’t be young forever, the party never has to stop and there’s no place that knows that to be more true than Chicago! So in honor of this milestone, we plan on raising our glass to the city we love and having a grand ole time this weekend.

The celebrations begin Friday night at 8pm with “Voices of Chicago”, a musical tribute of songs from Chicago legends. You’ll hear the heart of the Chicago music scene here -- past and present. Chicago’s best will perform jazz, blues and gospel at Mayne Stage on Morse Avenue. Can’t make it Friday? There will also be shows Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm.

Another rockin party is being held in River North at Rockit Bar & Grill on March 3rd from 8- 10pm. They’ll be dishin out Chicago-themed food, cocktails and music with performances by several Chicago locals who made it big in the music scene. Tickets to this shindig cost $20, but all the proceeds are being donated to feed families in need.

But the official birthday party will take place at the Chicago History Museum on Sunday, March 4. Beginning at 12pm, there will be a variety of events at the museum including jazz music, crafts, meet and greets with famous Chicago personalities and a four-star panel discussing Chicago’s identity and what sets it apart from every other city on Earth. Best of all, admission is free for Illinois residents!

In tribute to the Windy City, we’ll take a quick look back at how it all began...

Although it was first taken over by the United States back in 1795 for a military post, it was on March 4, 1837 that the City of Chicago was incorporated. It continued to grow throughout the mid-1800’s as it served as an important marker between the eastern and western United States. At one point, Chicago even had the fastest growing population in the world.

1871, a year that every Chicagoan knows well, was the year of the infamous Chicago fire that destroyed a third of the city. Although detrimental, the fire proved the resilience and determination of the people of Chicago. They rebuilt the city rapidly, even constructing the first skyscraper in the world in 1885, the 10-story (two additional stories were added five years later) Home Insurance Building.

Then in 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Fair (also known as the Columbian Exposition), which gave Chicago world-wide prominence.

And as they say... the rest is history.

Today, Chicago boasts a population of nearly three million people! A feet I’m sure no one would have ever even fathomed back in 1837. Just think... what will the next 175 years bring?

So here’s to Chicago and a future full of endless opportunities!