Chicago Spirit

Chicago was only 46 years old when Mark Twain wrote quotations about it, but it'd already grown more than 100-fold, by a small trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River into among the nation's largest cities, plus it wasn't going to discontinue. In people, it'd quadruple on the next twenty years, amazing other entire world with its ability.And it still hasn't ceased.  

Chicago has become a global community, a booming center of commerce and global trade, and a location.

Historical Chicago

Chicago's first permanent resident was a trader named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a free black man apparently from Haiti, that came here from the late 1770s.  In 1795, the U.S. government built Fort Dearborn at what's currently the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (search for its bronze markers in the pavement). It is still on of the most popular things to do in Chicago. It rebuilt was burnt into the bottom by Americans in 1812 and demolished in 1857.A Trading CenterIncorporated as a city in 1837, Chicago was ideally situated to take advantage of these trading chances created by the westward expansion of the nation.  

The completion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal at 1848 generated a water link between the amazing Lakes and the Mississippi River, but the canal was soon rendered obsolete by railroads.  

Now, 50 percent of U.S. rail freight continues to feed Chicago, whilst the town has become the nation's busiest aviation centre, thanks to O’Hare along with Midway International airports.The Great Fire of 1871Its own residents took measures to keep pace as Chicago grew.

 In the 1850s, they raised the buildings, as well -- and increased many of the roads five to eight feet to install a sewer system.  Unfortunately, the buildings, roads and sidewalks were made from wood, & the majority of them burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

 The Chicago Fire Department training academy at 558 W. DeKoven St. is to the site of the O’Leary property where the fire began.  Chicago rebuilt.  Much of the debris has been thrown as landfill, forming the underpinnings for what is currently the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and Grant Park.  

One of those Exposition buildings has been rebuilt to become the Museum of Science and Business.  Chicago refused to become discouraged even by the Great Depression.  

Hull-House Waves of immigrants came into Chicago to shoot jobs in the factories and meat packing plants.  Many inferior workers and their loved ones found help in settlement houses operated by Jane Addams along with her followers.  Her Hull House Museum is located at 800 S. Halsted St.

Chicago Firsts

In issues large and small, Chicagoans have demonstrated their creativity all Through the history of their city:The country's earliest skyscraper, the 10-story, steel-framed Home Insurance Building, was constructed in 1884 at LaSalle and Adams roads and forged in 1931.  

When residents were jeopardized by waterborne illnesses from sewage flowing into Lake Michigan, they reversed the Chicago River in 1900 to allow it to flow prior to the Mississippi.  

Start of the "Historic Route 66" which starts at Grant Park on Adams Street at the front of the Art Institute of Chicago.   A Henry Moore sculpture marks the location on Ellis Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.  

Our only female mayor, Jane M. Byrne, functioned from 1979 to 1983, and has been succeeded by our first African-American mayor, '' Harold Washington, that served until his death in 1987.  

The longest-serving mayor, Richard J. Daley (1955-1976), presided over an public and private building flourish that reinforced both downtown and the town's neighborhoods.

His child, Richard M. Daley, mayor from 1989 into 2011, reformed education and public housing, bolstered community policing and oversaw the construction of countless dollars worth of libraries, schools, police stations and infrastructure, as well as the renovation of Soldier Field and creation of Millennium Park.  

Mayor Daley was likewise famous for spearheading ecological initiatives in his search to create Chicago the 'Greenest City in America'.  Chicago's present mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has been located in a ceremony in MIllennium Park at May of 2011.

Places to See in Chicago

Head to Empty Bottle in Western Village, if you're looking to grab an upandcoming ring before they make it big.  Attracting a mostly younger audience, this delightfully trashy indie rock team has played host to groups like television and Arcade Fire on the Radio until they went on to larger stages and festival headlining gigs.  It's also a trendy spot to just grab a beverage and take a game of pool ... if you don't mind suspicious graffiti-covered baths.  Which, if you should be here, you don't.

You aren't here for decorative beauty, although this punk rock that is iconic hang may well not be the most beautiful building from the surface.  Their opening act showcases one of the popular entertainers. more info on Chicago here

You are here to stone.  Loudly.  This is up for anything with a wide assortment of events that include live bands, trivia nights, bingo and bus trips aboard the venue's crazily graffiti-covered partybus to Chicago Bears football games.  

The 'train-wreck Rooftop Deck Bar' in Reggies is the best place to savor some bar food at the fresh air after digging throughout the plastic crates at the venue listing store, Recordbreakers.

For a music adventure that is more mellow but not as enjoyable, take a look at this historic corner pub in Lake View.  Built as a 'connected house' by Schlitz to sling  straight back  their brews now Schubas houses a number of their audio industry's finest talent.  

With a rock focus that leans towards guitar types that are folksy and singer/songwriter, the backroom music place has been an unassuming space made up of a killer speakers and a bit more than hardwood floors.  Catch a beverage at the front end room bar or throw some songs and host your own concert.

Relax with a few guitar in the Schubas
Carry on an epic date in Lincoln Hall

Be in on the secret at The Hide out

This area place hosts an eclectic range of performances, from local metal bands and touring rock acts to Openmic hip-hop nights and punk rock marching bands (yes, there is such a thing).  

Subterranean is an intimate place -- you'll probably be made to make friends in the flooring concert space that is tight throughout shows that are popular.  You are able to escape to the third floor balcony, even where a view of the point provides an opportunity that you wash the sweat from your brow before you dive straight back to the activity.

Bands Around the edge at Empty Bottle

Old-world charms and sounds at Thalia Hall

Having looked in many of films in highfidelity into Ocean's 12, the cinematic aura and sense of history at Green Mill remains as strong as the cocktails they're slinging with style from behind the bar.  

Throughout the height of Prohibition, Al Capone had his or her own desk in the up-town lounge and secret tunnels under the venue permitted easy escape for mobsters during police raids.  Now, this legendary jazz club retains its oldschool charms having a diverse cast of personalities from grizzled oldtimers to well-dressed couples on dates.

Its number of paintings competitions those in France, and the number of works is tremendous.  Download the free program for DIY music tours; it includes several quick-hit jaunts, from highlights (including Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks) to pop and architecture art tours.  Allow two hours to browse the museum's must sees; art buffs should devote much longer.      

The main entry is on Michigan Ave, nevertheless, you can also enter through the sparkling Modern Wing on Monroe St. Ask at the front desk about free talks and tours once you're inside.  Be aware that the 3rd-floor contemporary sculpture terrace is completely free.  It links to Millennium Park pedestrian-only Nichols Bridgeway, via this mod and has amazing city views.    

Wrigley Field

  Integrated 1914 and named for the chewing-gum guy, Wrigley Field is your second-oldest baseball match at the major leagues.  It's famous for its hand-turned scoreboard outfield walls and neon sign on the front entrance.  It's also known for the mythical losing series of its team.  The Cubs had not won a championship since 1908, a richly ironic spell that has been unrivaled in US sports.  Subsequently in 20-16, they triumphed at design.

    The grassy plaza just north of the primary entry -- the Park -- includes tables, chairs, a coffeeshop and spacious video screen.  About non-game days it's open to the public and hosts a Thursday farmers market, concerts and free movie nights; online days it's a beer garden for ticketholders.  Much more conveniences and A hotel are coming.    

The 10 old music venues at Chicago

  When it comes to music at the Great Lakes, no city rocks more difficult than Chicago.  At a town famous for mobsters and deep-dish pizza, among the most energetic yet frequently overlooked exports of Chicago is its own live music arena.  Jump the Art Institute and also experience the city like a local at one of these top ten music venues.    Mobsters and all that jazz at Green Mill

Despite security that may place a damper there isn't any denying that House of Blues from River North is one of the most magnificent areas in the town.  

The amazing space of vivid color decked-out with offbeat art hosts more mainstream rock (and yes, even blues) behaves, but can be known for its Sunday Gospel Brunch and the Southern-style fare that's served across its chain of places.  

HOB differentiates itself from the package with balcony seating that is plush and also a VIP 'Foundation Room' offering shows that are private and meet and greets with performers.

It's hard to find a music place in America more essential than this rock institution.  Recorded as a creative incubator for bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam and opened in 1982, these days the 1,100-capacity Metro may be relied on to host some of the biggest and best shows.  

Catch a bird's-eye view of this point or, in the event that you still have any energy left after the series, go to the team, Smartbar, till your feet go numb, and dancing.

In case Schubas may be the little brother, its sister venue may be your cooler everyone wants to go out with.  The area has had a fascinating history since launching in 1912 a picture theatre, in addition, it served for FBI representatives that assassinated gangster John Dillinger in 1934 as a sharpshooter's channel.  

Even the beautiful Bilevel concert room (changed into a place in '09) includes exposed brick and a gigantic stage which plays host to some of the greatest flying rock acts of the day, also is about as fine a spot to take a romantic date in Chicago as there is.

You'd be hard pressed to find anywhere.  Chicagoans of all stripes, belov this enchanting tiny hideaway, situated in a nearby area using more than an Old Style sign out front to denote its own presence.  

Only at that casual and friendly joint, you also can chat up sailors in the front  pub before making your path to the christmas light adorned back room where the point is defined for a variety of acts in comics and bands to Shakespeare and poetry.  You can be pretty damn sure you are likely to enjoy it, although you never quite understand what you are going to see.
Punk monster and rock hamburgers at Reggies

Grab your breath

Watch the series in style

Wow, is this place magnificent.  Launched as a community centre in 1892 and modeled after the Prague opera house, this historic landmark building immediately rose through the ranks as one of the top places of Chicago and in Pilsen was converted to a venue in 2013.  

With the property housing the Michelin starred restaurant Dusek's and down stairs bar Punch House, a vacation to Thalia Hall contains an entire night of fun.  Because it may help revitalize the up and coming neighborhood today, the elaborate concert hall keeps its charm with modern finishes.

Stone out, then reunite at Metro.

While going through periodicals from the period, the only mention of this incident I could find was another alderman accusing Barrett of firing three named county employees as a result of electoral loss.

Whatever the exact number, it is true that Barrett’s political career ended after he was found guilty of accepting bribes, among other crimes of a political nature. He was sentenced to six years of house arrest.

Bill Singer was one of less than a handful of independent Democrats on City Council. Singer describes the years after he won that election as an exciting time, one where there was real opposition and discussion of the issues. By 1975 Singer decided he’d take a run for mayor. He says he had reason to be optimistic:

He was a veteran of a successful anti-machine aldermanic campaign; he’d been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune as well as the major unions; and he was an effective fundraiser. Another major reason? He wasn’t sure if Daley was going to run. 

In May of 1974, Daley suffered a mild stroke while signing a document at his desk. He underwent surgery to remove a blockage, and then retired to the family vacation compound in Grand Beach, Mich.

The press was held at arms length to prevent any signs of wear and tear from showing; the account in American Pharaoh says his own Press Secretary didn’t even know the actual diagnosis until days afterward. According to the Chicago Tribune, Daley returned to City Hall in September and ran a staid campaign.

The health scare was significant, though, and caused Chicagoans to realize — maybe for the first time — that Richard J. Daley wouldn’t be their mayor forever. As longtime WBBM reporter Bob Crawford put it, Daley was “still the leader, but no longer the Boss.” 

Nonetheless, Singer lost the race.

“I once ran into a guy many years after I ran for mayor,” Singer says. “ I was introduced to him by a third party, and the third party said, ‘Mr. X, do you know Bill Singer? And he said, Sure, I voted against him seven times when he ran for mayor.’ I know the fellow, and I believe him to be telling the truth.”

Origin of the machine

Chicagoans, as Singer says, like their mayors, and they like continuity; both sentiments have certainly contributed to the 80-year Democratic streak.

In the 1975 race that Singer participated in, Republicans couldn’t even convince a new candidate to run. After losing the last Republican seat on city council, John Hoellen agreed to run until he knew his opponent would be Mayor Daley, at which point he dropped out, saying “It’s obviously impossible for me to run. ... I’ve had it. It’s beyond my comprehension.”

Anton Cermak is glad it was him instead of you.
So, just how Democratic is Chicago? So Democratic that Republicans don’t even bother to run for the city’s highest office. Just how corrupt was that machine? Enough to be a cocktail party joke. And how much did Chicagoans rely, at least in their minds, on Richard J. Daley? Again, enough to elect him even when he was basically incapacitated by a stroke. 

Almost every other major city that existed in the early 20th century experienced machine politics to some degree; political bosses successfully manipulated the vulnerable immigrant underclass, milking them for political power in exchange for measly services. But by the time other famous machines were collapsing, like Tammany Hall in New York, Chicago’s Democratic organization was just kicking into high gear. 

The intersection of ethnicity and the politics of alcohol 

Eighty years ago Chicago’s mayor was Anton Cermak, a Democrat born in what today would be the Czech Republic. Cermak’s ethnicity made him an unlikely candidate for mayor in a town that was then still dominated by western Europeans — the Irish and the Italians — but it was also what made his terms as mayor a turning point in history.

Cermak’s success created a multiethnic coalition within the Democratic party. These populations had been growing in Chicago throughout the 1920s and, according to Roosevelt University’s Professor Paul Green, co-editor of The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition, Cermak realized that by uniting these ethnic groups, he could solidify the political power of the Democratic party.

Professor Richard Schneirov, author of Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-97, thinks Chicago’s history as a liberal town goes back even further than Cermak. Schneirov says that because Chicago industrialized more rapidly and not as gradually as other American cities, it developed a radical labor class in a way that cities like Boston, Philadelphia and New York never did. 

“Suddenly,” as Schneirov put it, “[Chicago] had a working class to defend.”

Chicago quickly became the American — and maybe even global — center of the labor and socialist movements, which drove progressive causes for decades to come. According to Professor Schenirov, the women’s movement was instigated by labor leaders, as was the Civil Rights movement, before the church took it over. Chicago’s liberal leanings, evident today in both local and national elections, can thereby be directly connected to its affinity for the working class.

While New York’s working class diverged along ethnic divides, Chicago’s burgeoning labor movement spanned them, and one mayor in particular pushed things along: Carter Henry Harrison. When Harrison became mayor in 1879, the city had a large population of Germans who considered themselves Republicans — despite their radical dedication to the labor movement. However, they also liked to drink. By refusing to enforce temperance in Chicago, Harrison turned the German population into Democrats, using a non-political social issue to solidify a multiethnic powerbase.

Harrison was also known to go around to African-American communities bragging that, since he was born in Kentucky, he surely had some slave ancestry. He also united Jews and Catholics as immigrant workers, leaving the Republican party in disarray. Schneirov stresses that, while Harrison did begin to create the coalition type of government we associate with Chicago, it wasn’t really a political machine; Harrison came from too wealthy a background and his grip on power was as yet too insecure.

Mayor Martin Kennelly attends the opening of the 20th Century Train line.
Carter Harrison didn’t spell the death-knell for Chicago’s GOP, and neither did his son, Carter Henry Harrison II, Chicago’s first political dynasty. Chicago’s last Republican mayor (and possibly its most corrupt) was William “Big Bill” Thompson, who was rumored to govern with Al Capone as his right hand man.

The Roaring ‘20s brought another wave of immigrants to Chicago, providing Anton Cermak, the great Bohemian unifier, with plenty of supportive, working class voters to manipulate through patronage jobs and other political machinations.

When the Great Depression hit in 1929, this population was all the more vulnerable and all the more ready to support FDR, the great Democratic defender. It turned out that Cermak himself was a “Democratic defender” in a more literal sense; he died in 1933 by taking a bullet intended for the president. 

Cermak was succeeded by Ed Kelly, an Irishman who held an engineering degree. According to Professor Green, the education of Chicago’s bosses played a large part in their success. “These were not just a bunch of drunk saloon keepers,” he says. 

Kelly retained a friendship with FDR, and also allied with Bill Dawson, a formerly Republican African-American leader who helped Kelly win over the city’s Republican stronghold, which at that time happened to be two African-American wards. As wealthier, white Chicagoans abandoned the city for the suburbs, Catholics, Jews, immigrants and African-Americans became Kelly’s powerful voting base.

The machine gets humming 

At this point, Chicago’s political machine was fully underway, and office-holders began to perfect their tactics. This era spawned the legends that Chicagoans are practically raised on. Dead men registering to vote. Homeless people exchanging votes for bottles of liquor. A precinct captain comes by to drop off your garbage can or shovel your sidewalk, and leaves a list of names telling you whom to vote for.

Elizabeth Taylor, co-author of the Daley biography American Pharaoh, says Chicagoans put up with this system for so long because they would traditionally “rather have clean streets than a clean city.” She sees the Daleys — both Richard J. and Richard M. — as apolitical managers who masterfully manipulated the machine.

Richard J. Daley nearly lost the office in 1966 when liberal Republican (and former Democrat) Ben Adamowski won the majority of the white vote. Daley, ever the coalition builder, focused on and succeeded in capturing the black vote and retained his office.

To prevent future challenges from faux-Republicans, Daley became a much more conservative leader in subsequent terms.

Daley primarily thought of himself as a businessman, and didn’t hesitate to befriend Republican businessmen from the collar counties. Maintaining power was the priority, and party affiliation was merely the means to that end.

Richard M. Daley donned leprechaun green for this Irish-themed event. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Public Affairs, Midwest).

Experts who helped answer our Curious City question say that the Daleys and their organization didn’t stay in power simply because nobody bothered to get rid of them.

Harold Washington was elected as Chicago’s first black mayor (unless you believe Carter Harrison was black, and few people do) in 1983. That vote was split between multiple white candidates, allowing Washington able to win by simply taking the black vote.

Much of Chicago rejoiced after Washington’s election, believing he would herald a new age of race relations in the city. After his sudden death by heart attack in 1987, an independent, anti-Democrat organization called the Harold Washington Party sprung up in his wake. 

The problem was, the new party threatened to peel black voters away from Democratic organization candidates, something Democratic leaders couldn’t stand. In 1990 they successfully had the Harold Washington Party’s removed from a countywide ballot after a judge ruled they had violated election laws by failing to present the appropriate number of signatures.

No comparably organized opposition to the Democratic majority has sprung up in Chicago since. By 1995 mayoral races were non-partisan, though in 1996, the non-partisan mayor (Richard M. Daley) heartily welcomed the Democratic national convention to town, feting the nation’s most famous party members, including President Bill Clinton. 

When I talked to Bill Singer about his experience with local politics in Chicago, I also asked him what he thinks of the city today. Is it the same place? Does it have the same political culture that he was steeped in? 

“Is there still patronage? Yes,” Singer says, “But the dependency factor is far far less. It is less and less important every year.” He says there are still one or two wards here and there that are probably run the same old way, but he doesn’t think citizens would sit and watch Rahm Emanuel become Chicago’s next kingpin.

“Chicago likes it’s mayors, Chicago likes continuity,” Singer says, “But I do think that days of 20, 22-year reigns are over. … I don’t think that will happen again.”