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222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, IL, 60654


Chicago's honorary brown street signs, days, and commemorative honors; the who, what, where, when and why.  Honorary Chicago guide book, maps, biographies, history, trivia, tours, and gifts.

Chicago Timeline

Chicago History

  • Native American tribes populate the area: Illinois, Miami, Potawatomie, Ojibwa, Menominee, Ho-Chunk

  • They name it Shikaakwa, an Algonquin word which roughly translates to "stinking onion" due to the marshy wetland conditions and smell of wild onion plants.



  • “In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
    Christopher Columbus discovers a new land which he mistakes for Asia, based on the accounts of the explorer Marco Polo. He thinks he has landed in India and he calls the native peoples he finds there, Indians.



  • Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer, sailed to Brazil and observed that the land and coast was much longer than anticipated. From this he surmised that his own observation of Brazil and Christopher Columbus’ discovery was not India or Asia but an entirely separate continent, a new world, the fourth continent after Europe, Asia, and Africa.


  • Cartographer, Martin Waldseemueller, drew a world map where he named the new continent America, after Amerigo Vespucci.


Native American tribes have established hunting and fishing villages and trade with other tribes down the river

France claims the territory and establishes international fur trade


  • The Mayflower lands in Cape Cod after a 66 day voyage from Plymouth, England. September 6 - November 9


  • The Company of New France is established in Montreal on the St. Lawrence River to export furs from the new world territories back to France


  • Father Jacques Marquette and French-Canadian fur-trader Louis Joliet explore the rivers and map what is called The Northwest Territory in attempt for France to find the Northwest passage across the continent to the Orient, and to convert the natives to Christianity. Joliet noted that at the Chicago Portage a canal could be constructed to link the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.


  • French settler and explorer, Rene-Robert Caveiler de La Salle, in search of a route to China, mapped the Ohio River to the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and named the whole area Louisiana for his King, Louis XIV of France, in 1682. (Note: this is not the same La Salle, during the same timeframe, for whom Catholic Schools are named. Schools are named for Jean-Baptist de La Salle, the patron saint of teachers)



Chicago is a center for the fur-trade: beaver, bear, black fox, deer, otter, and marten

The Potowatami tribe, allied with France, displaces other tribes in the area

Most of the middle of the continent and the area along the Mississippi River is claimed as New France



  • The Upper Louisiana Territory / Illinois country and French Canada is a French Colony, as is Lower Louisiana / to the Gulf Coast


  • The French and Indian Wars begin with British attempt to take the Ohio River valley occupied by the French. France had tribal allies, and the British allied with the Iroquois Federation, was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. Conflicts in the colonies were an extension of the Seven Years War between France and England in Europe.


  • France secretly gives Louisiana to Spain, Treaty of Fontainebleau 1762 towards the end of the French and Indian War


  • The Seven Year War in Europe and colonies around the world (French and Indian War - British Colonies vs New France, both with native tribes as allies) France (allied with Spain) is defeated by Great Britain. The Treaty of Paris 1763, France relinquishes its claims the Upper Louisiana territories east of the Mississippi and in Canada except for New Orleans, to Britain. Britain takes Spanish Florida. Spain keeps Cuba and the Phillipines, and gets Upper Louisiana west of the Mississippi from France.



  • American Revolutionary War begins; the American colonies seek independence from Britain. This is partially provoked by taxes imposed by the British on the American colonies to pay for the French and Indian Wars which ended in 1763.


  • The American Declaration of Independence from Britain



  • American Revolutionary War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris 1783, and acknowledges the sovereignty of the United States

  • Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783, the United States gains control of territory from the British; the area west to the Mississippi River and North to Canada, except Florida which was a colony of Spain.


  • US Congress passes the Land Ordinance of 1785. Western territories were surveyed and parcels sold to pay off the national debt. An area was divided into square lots; this was the origin of the street grid system in many newer cities.


  • The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 establishes federal governance of Northwest Territory and outlines the requirements to divide the area into new states. The area roughly encompasses what today are the Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota) east of the Mississippi River and Northwest of the Ohio River.


  • Jean Baptiste Ponte DuSable settles the north bank of the Chicago River on the shores of Lake Michigan (Date could be as early as 1779).


  • George Washington, President. 1789-1797


  • The Hatian Revolution begins. (1791-1804) Haiti wins independence from colonial France.


  • The French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1803) France vs. Great Britiain


  • The French Monarchy is overthrown with the beheading of King Louis XVI.


  • The Greenville Treaty, ended disputes and defined the boundary between a Federation of Native American tribes led by Miami Chief Little Turtle and the US. This included much of Ohio and various lands north of the Ohio River including a parcel at the mouth of the Chicago River.


  • John Adams, President. 1797-1801


  • Napoleon Bonaparte comes to power in France.



  • DuSable sold his house and farm in Chicago and moved his family to Missouri.


  • Thomas Jefferson, President 1801-1809


  • The original Fort Dearborn is built on the south bank of the Chicago River on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was built by Captain John Whistler and named for Henry Dearborn, the US Secretary of War under President Thomas Jefferson.

  • Transfer of land in Louisiana Purchase from (Napoleon) France to (Thomas Jefferson) US. Land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains.

  • The Napoleonic Wars begin between France and other countries in Europe. 1803-1815


  • John Kinzie, Fur-trader from Quebec, purchases house and land previously built and owned by DuSable.

  • Lewis and Clark Expedition from St. Louis to Pacific Northwest, commissiond by President Thomas Jefferson. 1804-1806

  • Haiti wins independence from colonial France. Haitian Revolution 1791-1804



  • James Madison President 1809-1817


  • The war of 1812 between Britain and the United States (1812-1815). Concurrently Britain was amid the Napoleonic Wars with France (1803-1815).

  • The Fort Dearborn massacre

  • John Kinzie and family were given safe passage to Detroit by the Potawatami tribe and were spared the Fort Dearborn massacre


  • Napoleon abdicates after the Battle of Waterloo. June 22


  • John Kinzie returns to Chicago and occupies the house again

  • The second Fort Dearborn is built.


  • James Monroe, President. 1817-1825

  • Construction begins on the Erie Canal (1817-1825)


  • Illinois becomes the 21st State.

  • Jean Baptiste Point DuSable died in St. Charles , MO. August 28


  • US Congress makes land grant to Illinois for the construction of the Illinois Michigan Canal to link the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.

  • The fur trade dwindles due to overtrapping and reduced animal populations


  • Opening of the Erie Canal which connected the Atlantic Ocean through New York City to the Great Lakes.

  • Mark Beaubien establishes the Sauganash Tavern (bar, restaurant, and hotel), located at Wolf Point. 1825

  • John Quincy Adams, President. 1825-1829


  • Andrew Jackson, President 1829-1837


  • The state of Illinois begins to survey Chicago for a canal to link the rivers to the Great Lakes.

  • Congress passes the Indian Removal Act.

  • The 1830 survey plat map for the Chicago end of the I&M Canal is drawn up into 58 square blocks with service alleys.

  • The first land lots were sold to finance the I&M Canal. September 4, 1830


  • The Black Hawk War ends, the last battle with native americans in the Chicago area. April - July


  • The Town of Chicago is established August 12, 1833

  • Chicago population = 350.

  • Chicago Treaty of 1833 pushes Native American tribes westward

  • First Chicago newspaper published, the Chicago Weekly Democrat


  • Baubien, founder of the Sauganash Tavern, becomes the lighthouse keeper.


  • Construction of the Illinois Michigan Canal begins, connects the Chicago River at Bridgeport to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru.


  • The City of Chicago is incorporated March 4, 1837

  • William B. Ogden elected as Chicago's first mayor on May 2, 1837-1838

  • Martin VanBuren, President 1837-1841

  • Chicago population = 4000.

  • At the time of the incorporation Chicago's city boundaries were: east to the lake, north to North Avenue, south to 22nd Street, west to Wood Street.

  • US Financial Crisis deflation and unemployment for 7 years, until 1844. May 10, 1837 New York bank crisis, led to bank failures.

  • Chicago's first business license issued - C.D. Peacock Jewelers

  • Chicago's first theater company


  • Chicago population approximately 4,400


  • William Henry Harrison, President. 1841

  • James Tyler, President. 1841-1845


  • The Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845-1851, spurs Irish emigration.

  • James Polk, President. 1845-1849


  • Construction completed of I&M Canal. It begins commercial and passenger traffic.

  • Chicago's first telegraph

  • California gold rush begins when gold flakes found in Sutters Mill

  • Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) established, 1848. trades commodities.


  • Zachary Taylor, President. 1849-1850

  • California Gold Rush 1849-1855


  • Millard Fillmore, President. 1850-1853

  • Chicago population approximately 30,000


  • The City allows the Illinois Central Railroad to build tracks and a trestle off the shoreline of Michigan Avenue and what was Lake Front Park if they also build a breakwall further out in the lake to protect the shoreline. This created a lagoon which was later filled in and became Grant Park.

  • The Studebaker Brothers of South Bend, Indiana began producing wagons for transportation


  • Franklin Pierce, President. 1853-1857


  • Chicago is the world's largest grain port

  • Chicago population 30,000; up from 4000 in 1837

  • Cholera outbreak in London 1854 leads Dr. John Snow to create a map that leads to the discovery the source at a well



  • James Buchanan, President. 1857-1861


  • The Lincoln-Douglas debates states rights with regard to slavery

  • Silver Rush begins with discovery at Comstock Lode


  • The first commercial oil well was drilled. Titusville, Pennsylvania by Colonel Edwin Drake

  • Construction begins on the 120-mile Suez Canal (1859-1869) linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea for passage to the Indian Ocean


  • Abraham Lincoln in nominated in Chicago for President of the United States. May 18, 1860

  • Abraham Lincoln wins the Presidential election. November 6, 1860

  • Southern states began seceding from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America

  • Chicago population approximately 112,000


  • Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as President. March 4, 1861

  • American Civil War begins



  • Construction begins on the Transcontinental Railroad 1863

  • Abraham Lincoln makes Thanksgiving a national holiday, originally designated as the last Thursday in November.


  • American Civil War ends

  • President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated, April 14, 1865

  • Andrew Johnson, President 1865-1969

  • Abraham Lincoln's funeral train and procession in Chicago. May 1865


  • Edward P. Brennan was born in Chicago


  • The Pullman Company is established.

  • The Eight-hour workday movement stages protests in Chicago on May 1, 1867 which are quickly put down.


  • Lincoln Park Zoo was founded


  • Transcontinental Railroad opens 1869

  • The Suez Canal opens 1869

  • Ulysses S. Grant, President 1869-1877

  • Riverside, the first planned suburb in the United States, was drafted by Frederick Law Olmstead, landscape architect, with meandering streets (no grid) and no alleys. 1869


  • Standard Oil Company founded by John D. Rockefeller. 1870

  • Approximate start of “The Guilded Age” in the United States 1870s-1900


  • The I&M Canal pays off its debts and also begins using steam powered boats instead of mules

  • The Palmer House Hotel opens. September 26, 1871

  • Chicago population = 300,000+

  • Mayor Roswell B. Mason

  • The Great Chicago Fire; October 8-10. left 100,000 homeless, >300 dead, 17,000 buildings destroyed, and caused $200 million in damages. map

  • Rubble from the fire is pushed into the lake causing the lagoon off Michigan Avenue to be filled in

  • The Great Peshtigo Forest Fire, Wisconsin claimed 1200 lives and 1.2 million acres. October 8, 1871

  • Lt General Philip H. Sheridan assigned command of state and federal troops to restore order after the Great Chicago Fire. October 10, 1871.

  • Joseph Medill, mayor 1871-1873


  • Lord & Thomas advertising agency is founded in Chicago, 1873. It became FCB in 1942.

  • Panic of 1873 financial crisis and stock market crash in Europe and bank failures in the US


  • Chicago Yacht Club established 1875

  • First steel mill in Chicago 1875


  • National Railroad Strike. July 1877.

  • Rutherford B. Hayes, President. 1877-1881


  • Chicago population approximately 500,000

  • Founding of architecture firm Holabird & Simons, now known as Holabird & Root

  • France breaks ground to build the first Panama Canal at sea level, but gives up later after years of fighting tropical disease and hardship (1880-1888)


  • Pullman Town opens; a planned community for Pullman Company employees.

  • The Pritzker Family settles in Chicago, from Kiev. 1881.

  • James Garfield, President. 1881

  • Chester A. Arthur, President 1881-1885


  • Peter J. McGuire, United Brotherhood of Carpenters proposes Labor Day holiday, September 5th (about equal distance between 4th of July and Thanksgiving holidays - adopted by the Knights of Labor in 1884.

  • Carter Henry Harrison III, mayor 1879-1887


  • The General Time Convention declares the Standard Time system which establishes 4 time zones across the continental United States. October 11

  • "The day of two noons" Standard Time is implemented by the railroad system across the country. November 18


  • The Knights of Labor adopt the Labor Day holiday. It does not become a national holiday until 1894

  • The first steel frame skyscraper is built by William LeBaron Jenney. The Home Insurance Building on the Northeast Corner of LaSalle and Adams was 10 stories and 138 feet tall. It was demolished in 1931.


  • The Studebaker Carriage Company Building, factory and showroom was built on Michigan Boulevard

  • Cholera, Typhus, and Disentary outbreak due to polluted water, heavy rainwater spilling sewage into lake.

  • The world's first modern skyscraper was built on LaSalle and Adams street. A 10-story, steel frame, fireproof construction designed by William LeBaron Jenney.

  • Grover Cleveland, President. 1885-1889


  • A growing number of labor strikes and planned protests demanding an 8-hour work day. May 1-3

  • Haymarket Riot. May 4, 1886


  • Four men were hanged for their involvement in the Haymarket Riots, November 11, 1887.


  • Hull-House, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr, Settlement House Movement. September 18 , 1889.

  • Sister Frances Xavier Cabrini arrives in New York to begin her missionary work for immigrants.

  • John A. Roche, mayor 1887-1889

  • DeWitt Clinton Cregier, mayor 1889-1891

  • Benjamin Harrison, President 1889-1893

  • The Auditorium Theater opens and becomes the tallest building in Chicago. 1889

  • Creation of the Sanitary District of Chicago, May 29, 1889; now called the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

  • The City of Chicago annexed surrounding towns: Hyde Park, Lake View, Jefferson, and Lake

  • The Mayor appoints committee organizers for the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago




  • Sanitary District of Chicago begins digging 3 canals which will reverse the flow of the Chicago River and protect the city's water supply.

  • The first elevated train "L" line was completed and connected the Jackson Park, Columbian Exposition site, to downtown

  • The first University of Chicago classes are held in Hyde Park


  • The World's Fair "The Columbian Exhibition" takes place in Chicago, May 1 - October 30 and is attended by 27.5M people

  • Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld pardons 3 men imprisoned as a result of the Haymarket Riot, June 26

  • Hempstead Washburne, mayor 1891-1893

  • Carter Henry Harrison III, mayor 1893. Murdered October 28, the night before the end of the World Fair.

  • George Bell Swift, mayor 1893

  • John Patrick Hopkins, mayor 1893-1895

  • Grover Cleveland, President 1893-1897 (second term)

  • Two more "L" train lines are completed

  • Panic of 1893 financial crisis spurred by crop failures and a run on gold


  • Pullman Strike, May 11, 1894; 4000 workers leave Pullman manufacturing plant; June 1894 nationwide boycott of Pullman Cars by American Railway Union (ARU); July 1894 federal injunction and soldiers ended strike; ARU president, Eugene Victor Debs, imprisoned for violating injunction.

  • President Grover Cleveland makes Labor Day a National Holiday, the first Monday in September

  • The "White City" remaining buildings of the Columbian Exhibition catch fire and burn down February and July 1894

  • The Columbian Museum of Chicago opens in the former Palace of Fine Arts which was built for the 1893 World Fair. Trustees change the name to the Field Columbian Museum.


  • Douglas Park establishes Chicago's first park outdoor swimming pool

  • Catherine O’Leary dies. 1895


  • Douglas Park opened a double ring racetrack. 1896-1905.


  • William McKinley, President. 1897-1901


  • Pullman Town to be sold by order of the federal government.

  • Studebaker Building converted into artist studios and becomes the Fine Arts Building




  • Completion of the Sanitary and Ship Canal, which empties into the Des Plaines River and replaces the I&M Canal.

  • Dam to the sanitation canal is blown up - reversing the flow of the Chicago River. January 2

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is published in Chicago

  • Chicago population in 1900 was approximately 1.7 million; >75% immigrants (34%) or first generation, mostly from Europe.

  • Chicago had 377 automobiles.


  • Lake Park is renamed Grant Park

  • The street rationalization plan is proposed

  • Theodore Roosevelt, President. 1901-1909


  • Studebaker introduces its first motor powered car, it has an electric motor


  • Carter Henry Harrison IV, mayor 1897-1905

  • Ford Motor Company incorporated in 1903

  • Wright Brothers successful flights of a heavier-than-air powered aircraft. December 17, 1903

  • Iroquois Theater Fire, 602 died. December 30

  • Construction of the Panama Canal begins (1903-1914)


  • Chicago successfully bid for the 1904 Olympics, but the event was moved to St. Louis instead.



  • Upton Sinclair published "The Jungle."

  • Edward F. Dunne, mayor 1905-1907

  • San Francisco earthquake and fire April 18-23


  • The "Local Option" allowing districts to restrict or prohibit alcohol by Illinois state law

  • Fred A Busse, mayor 1907-1911


  • The Ford Model-T car introduced, October 1908

  • The Garfield Park Conservatory opened


  • The NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founders include: W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell, February 12

  • Burnham Plan of 1909 redesigns the City and includes multi-level streets

  • Montgomery wins court battle to keep lakefront free and clear of buildings

  • The Chicago street naming and grid numbering system is implemented starting on September 1, 1909

  • William Howard Taft, President. 1901-1913


  • Union Stockyard fire of 1910 at 44th and Loomis kills 21 firefighters and is the greatest loss of firefighters in US history until 2001. December 22

  • Chicago population approximately 2.2 million.


  • Standard Oil Company monopoly broken up by US anti-trust laws

  • The 4 independent "L" train lines to and around the loop were unified under the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust (CER). 1911

  • The renumbering of Chicago's streets is completed. April 1, 1911


  • The RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean en route to New York City from Southampton, England. April 14

  • The Greater North Michigan Avenue Association is established. (originally the North Central Business District Association)


  • Statue in honor of Goethe "Mastermind of the German People" dedicated in Lincoln Park

  • Woodrow Wilson, President 1913-1921


  • World War I, August 1914 - 1918

  • Wrigley Field built. 1914

  • Approval to extend landfill off Michigan Avenue to approximately current boundary

  • Panama Canal construction completed (1903-1914), 48 miles linking the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean


  • William Hale Thompson, mayor 1915-1923

  • The Eastland Disaster - steamboat capsizes on Chicago River, killing 844. July 24, 1915.


  • Navy Pier, originally called Municipal Pier, opens to the public

  • Carl Sandberg publishes the poem Chicago, where he describes it as the "City of the Big Shoulders."

  • Amelia Earhart graduates from Hyde Park Academy in Chicago

  • Chicago has 65,651 automobiles.


  • City of Chicago adopts the 6-point stars and stripes design April 4, 1917

  • Unites States joins the allies and enters World War I, April 6, 1917

  • Lions Club International is founded in Chicago by Melvin Jones, June 7, 1917

  • Mother Cabrini dies at Columbus Hospital, Chicago. December 22, 1917


  • Congress passes The Standard Time Act which divides the country into 4 time zones. March 19

  • World War I ends November 1918, commemorated as Armistice Day 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

  • Influenza Pandemic 1918-1919

  • The sunken SS Eastland ship is recommissioned as the USS Willmette gun boat

  • The USS Commodore is beached north of Monroe Street at the Illinois Naval Reserve plot of lakefront property; it remained there until 1930.

  • The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment is founded by William Stayton; 1918. It ran publicity campaigns in 1928 to call for the repeal of prohibition.

  • Total solar eclipse passes across the United States


  • Wingfoot Express blimp catches fire over downtown Chicago and crashes through roof of Illinois Trust and Saving Bank. July 21, 1919

  • Race Riots across US "Red Summer," some of the worst were in Chicago. July 27, 1919. Three days, 38 dead.

  • Prohibition ratified across the United States January 1919, went into effect January 1920, repealed in December 1933

  • Al Capone moves to Chicago from Brooklyn (approximate year)

  • The Chicago Butter and Egg Board established 1919; later known as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

  • Plans approved to develop lakefront between downtown and Hyde Park. This area is now Museum Campus, it is south of the “forever free” park space.

  • Approval for the planning of Municipal Grant Park Stadium (Soldier Field) was granted and architects Holabird & Roche selected


  • Prohibition enforcement begins January 16, 1920

  • Chicago population approximately 2.7 million.

  • The Drake Hotel opens


  • Warren Harding, President. 1921-1923

  • Former US President Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. July 11

  • The first Miss America Pageant is held. September 1921 in Atlantic City

  • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery. November 11

  • Opening day in the newly constructed Field Museum of Natural History in its current Grant Park location.


  • Bessie Coleman becomes the first African American woman to stage a public flight in the United States

  • Construction begins on Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. May 5. It opens April 18, 1923

  • Molly Pitcher Club, a women’s anti-prohibition group 1922 opposed the regulation of personal habits

  • The Union of Soviet Social Republics (USSR) is established. December 30


  • Calvin Coolidge, President. 1923-1929. First radio broadcast by US President. December 6

  • The first issue of Time Magazine is published. March 2

  • The “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles is installed; it originally reads “Hollywoodland”

  • Transcontinental Airmail service begins

  • Insulin for the treatment of diabetes becomes generally available

  • An 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan kills 142,000 people. September 1

  • Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio founded. October 16


  • Soldier Field football stadium constructed (originally named Municipal Grant Park Stadium). Official opening day, October 9, 1924.

  • The 4 separate "L" train companies consolidate under the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT), and become divisions within the company: South Side, North Side, Metropolitan, Lake Street and Loop.


  • Route 66 established. November 11, 1926

  • Chicago Blackhawks hockey team founded. 1926

  • The Oriental Theater on State Street was built. 1926

  • The east-west portion of upper and lower Wacker Drive is completed, and named after Charles Wacker, Chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission. October 1926

  • All Nations Pentacostal Church on 3716 Langley Ave. was the first church in Chicago built by a woman pastor, Elder Lucy Smith. December


  • Charles Lindberg and "The Spirit of St. Louis," is the first trans-atlantic flight. New York to Paris, May 20-21, 1927.

  • The Stevens Hotel (now the Chicago Hilton and Towers) opens. 1927

  • Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is dedicated in Grant Park, August 26, 1927


  • The Bowman and Spearman bronze statues of Indians on horseback by Ivan Mestrovic are installed in Grant Park


  • St. Valentines Day Massacre, February 14, 1929. 7 dead.

  • The Graf Zeppelin, piloted by Hugo Eckener flew over Chicago as part of a round the world voyage. August 28, 1929

  • Stock Market Crash. October 29, 1929

  • Great Depression 1929-1939

  • William Hale Thompson, mayor 1927-1931

  • Herbert Hoover, President. 1929-1933


  • The Merchandise Mart is completed. When it opens on May 5, 1930 it is the largest building in the world with more than 4 Million square feet of floor space.

  • Chicago population approximately 3.4 million.

  • First Mickey Mouse comic strip. January 13

  • Pluto, the 9th planet, was discovered on February 18, announced on March 13. (designated junior planet in 2006)

  • Mahatma Gandhi goes on a 200 mile protest, the Salt March. March 12-April 5

  • BBC Radio reports today “There is no news.” April 18

  • National Pan-Hellenic Council is founded in Washington DC. May 10

  • The Adler Planetarium opens. May 12

  • The Shedd Aquarium opens. May 30

  • US Department of Veteran Affairs established. July 21

  • A new Naval Reserve Armory is built on a new pier extending out into the lake off the former Coast Guard grounds.


  • Jane Addams wins the Nobel Peace Prize

  • Anton Joseph Cermak, mayor 1931-1933

  • Comic strip character Dick Tracy created by artist Chester Gould, based on the gangster era. October 4, 1931

  • Al Capone sentenced to prison, October 17, 1931


  • Babe Ruth hits the famed "called shot" home run at Wrigley Field. 1932.

  • Amelia Earhart is the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic.


  • Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak is shot and killed in Miami as a result of a failed assassination attempt on the life of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt.February 15, 1933

  • Chicago host the World's Fair, The Century of Progress, summers 1933 and 1934

  • Italian aviator, Italo Balbo and a squadron of seaplanes arrive at the World Fair in Chicago. July 15, 1933

  • Great Depression/US Economy in 1933: Half of US banks failed, unemployment 30%, stocks were at 20% of value.

  • Prohibition is repealed December 5, 1933

  • Frank J. Corr, mayor 1933

  • Edward J. Kelly, mayor 1933

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, President 1933-1945


  • Union Stockyards fire, 80 acres burned near Halsted between 41st and 42nd street, the second largest fire in Chicago history. May 19

  • The "Century of Progress" World Fair 1933 makes an encore performance. Summer of 1934

  • John Dillinger is shot by the FBI in an alley next to the Biograph Theater, July 22

  • The New International Amphitheater opens, replacing the building lost in the Stockyards Fire in May. December 1


  • Jay Berwanger, Halfback from the University of Chicago Maroons football, won the first Heisman Trophy

  • Monopoly board game by Parker Brothers goes on sale. February 6

  • Persia is renamed Iran. March 21

  • The Dust Bowl era in the western United States

  • The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is created. May 6

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio. June 10

  • The Leo Burnett advertising agency is established in Chicago. August 5

  • First car to drive 300 miles per hour, Utah Salt Flats. September 3

  • Nuremberg Laws revoke citizenship of Jews in Germany. September 15

  • Dedication of the Hoover Dam. September 30

  • The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) is created. November 8

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s, Falling Water house is completed


  • A second effort to rename duplicate streets having the same name is initiated.

  • Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter dash Olympic gold medal in Berlin. August 3

  • King Edward VIII abdicates the English throne. December 11


  • Wrigley Field bleachers and scoreboard constructed. 1937.

  • The Republic Steel Strike. 1937.

  • The Lakeshore Outer Drive bridge over the Chicago River is completed

  • Hindenberg disaster. May 6, 1937

  • Amelia Earhart's plane disappears over the Pacific Ocean. July 2, 1937.


  • Construction of the State Street subway began, 1938. Federal funding for this public works project was granted in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  • Chicago Cubs won the National League Pennant.


  • Europe enters World War II. September 1, 1939

  • University of Chicago discontinues its Football program. 1939.



  • The United States enters WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941


  • Enrico Fermi produces the first self-sustained nuclear reaction in his lab under Stagg Field on the University of Chicago campus, December 2, 1942.

  • Foote Cone and Belding (FCB) advertising agency established, succeeding the former Lord & Thompson agency.


  • Chicago-style deep dish pizza is introduced at Pizzeria Uno

  • Muddy Waters, famed blues musician, moves to Chicago from Mississippi

  • The State Street subway tunnel is completed. October, 1943


  • Paul Harvey began broadcasting in Chicago. 1944


  • Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office

  • Harry Truman, President. 1945-1953

  • Roosevelt University is founded and renamed (original name Thomas Jefferson)

  • Ebony Magazine is established by John H. Johnson, the beginning of the Johnson Publishing empire.

  • World War II ends. Europe, May 7, 1945. Japan, September 2, 1945

  • Orchard Field (later renamed O'Hare Airport) opens 1945

  • Conrad Hilton buys the Stevens Hotel and the Palmer House Hotel



  • Mother Frances Cabrini canonized in Rome, July 6, 1946. Mass held at Soldier Field, Chicago. First naturalized American citizen to become a Catholic Saint. Patron saint of immigrants and hospital administrators.

  • Cold War begins with Soviet Union


  • The Magnificent Mile is coined and used to describe North Michigan Avenue

  • Kukla, Fran, and Ollie television show (1947-1979) by Chicagoan, Burr Tilstrom, debuts on WBKB-Chicago.

  • The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is created and replaces the Chicago Rapid Transit Company (CRT). 1947


  • Chicago's airport renamed after Edward "Butch" O'Hare, a WWII pilot and Medal of Honor recipient from Chicago.


  • Korean War begins. 1950-1953

  • Chicago population 1950 Census = 3.6 million


  • The Edens Expressway opens

  • The Dearborn Street subway tunnel opens. 1951


  • Korean War ends

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, President 1953-1961


  • Grant Park North underground parking lot opened. It was 3 levels and could park 1,850 cars.


  • Richard J. Daley, mayor 1955-1976

  • First Ann Landers column by Eppie Lederer

  • O'Hare International Airport officially opens to commercial flights

  • The Prudential building is the first Chicago building granted air rights by the Illinois Central Railroad


  • Port of Chicago constructed


  • The Second City, sketch improv comedy, opens

  • The Pan-American Games were held in Chicago. Swimming pool in Portage Park

  • Queen Elizabeth II visit Chicago on US & Canada trip to commemorate opening of St. Lawrence Seaway



  • John F. Kennedy, President 1961-1963


  • United States begins running combat missions in Vietnam, January 1962

  • Cuban Missile Crisis


  • Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., August 28, 1963.

  • President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. November 1963

  • Lyndon Johnson, President 1963-1969


  • Inaugural Chicago International Film Festival. 1964

  • Lincoln Park, Farm in the Zoo opened.


  • Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announce the Chicago as the northern city for the civil rights campaign.

  • Construction on the John Hancock Center begins. 1965

  • Grant Park South Garage opens and has 3 levels and 1,350 underground parking spaces

  • Miss (Jane) Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees was first broadcast on American television. December 22, 1965


  • Martin Luther King and his family move into an apartment in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood to support the Chicago Freedom Movement civil rights campaign.

  • Freedom Rally at Soldier Field by Martin Luther King, Jr. July 10, 1966

  • Illinois Supreme Court case establishing air rights to the Ilinois Central Railroad


  • The original McCormick Place Convention Center (built 1960) burns to the ground, January 26, 1967.

  • Vietnam War protests in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco. April 1967.

  • Marina City building completed. Architect, Bertrand Goldberg


  • The Tet Offensive in Vietnam. January 1968

  • Anti-Vietnam War protests on college campuses across the US.

  • Senator Robert Kennedy enters race for Democratic Party nomination. March 16, 1968. He is killed in Los Angeles, June 5, 1968

  • The Gold Standard repealed for US currency. March 18, 1968

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. killed in Memphis. April 4, 1968

  • Civil Rights Act signed into law April 11, 1968

  • Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Anti-war protesters vs police clash. August 22-30, 1968

  • Apollo 7 launched by NASA to be first televised television broadcast from orbit

  • Yale University announces it will begin to admit women. November 14, 1968

  • The first International Special Olympics Games was held at Soldier Field.

  • Lake Point Tower construction completed. 1968


  • John Hancock building completed

  • Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe dies, Age 83.

  • Richard Nixon, President. 1969-1974


  • The John Hancock building opens

  • Construction begins on the Sears Tower. By structural engineer Fazlur Khan.

  • Chicago population 3.4 million.

  • The Kent State shooting of student Vietnam War protestors. May 3, 1970

  • Ernie Banks 500th home run. May 12, 1970, at Wrigley Field


  • The Chicago Bears Football Team plays its first home game at Soldier Field and defeats the Pittsburgh Steelers. September 19, 1971.

  • The new McCormick Place Convention Center is completed (1967 fire destroyed the original building)


  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) introduces futures trading. 1972.


  • The Standard Oil Building (Aon Center) is completed

  • The Lakefront Protection Ordinance was signed into law. Declaration that the Chicago lakefront is to be "forever open, clear and free" dates back to 1836 or earlier.


  • The Sears Tower is completed making it the tallest building in the world

  • The Sears Tower Skydeck is opened to the public

  • President Nixon resigns. August

  • Gerald Ford, President. 1974-1977


  • United States completes withdrawal from Vietnam. April 30, 1975

  • Water Tower Place skyscraper completed in Chicago. 1975


  • Michael A. Bilandic, mayor 1976-1979


  • The final stage of the underground Monroe Street parking garage opens 3800 parking spaces. Above ground is a landscaped park containing an ice rink and Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

  • Jimmy Carter, President. 1977-1981


  • The Petrillo Music Shell opens a “demountable” structure, so as to not violate the “free and clear” status of Grant Park.

  • Historic Landmark designation for The Fine Arts Building July 7, 1978


  • Big snowstorm

  • Jane Byrne, mayor 1979-1983

  • Pope John Paul II gave a public mass in Grant Park. An estimated 1.5 million people attended.



  • Pullman Company closes permanently

  • Taste of Chicago launched in Grant Park after the successful initial one-day event held the previous year.

  • Ronald Regan, President. 1981-1989


  • Harold Washington, mayor 1983-1987


  • Broadcast towers are added to the top of the Sears Tower

  • Chicago ordinance standardizing honorary street designations


  • Chicago Hilton and Towers Hotel reopens after $185 Million renovation completed. October 1, 1985.



  • Mayor Harold Washington dies in office 1987

  • David Duvall Orr, mayor 1987

  • Eugene Sawyer, mayor 1987-1989

  • Chicago Teachers Strike for 4 weeks


  • Wrigley Field's first night game. August 8, 1988.


  • Richard M. Daley, mayor 1989-2011

  • George H. W. Bush, President. 1989-1993


  • 1990s CME and CBOT begin to use computers for high speed trading.

  • Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program in Burnham Harbor

  • Chicago population approximately 2.8 million.


  • 1991 Gulf War, Iraq

  • Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the first of 3 consecutive championships 1991-1993


  • The Great Chicago Flood. New pilings for the Kinzie Street bridge caused the Chicago River to flood into basements all through the Loop. April 13, 1992

  • The Robert Redford directed film starring Brad Pitt, "A River Runs Through It" is released. Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars, out of 4 (thumbs up).

  • Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the second of 3 consecutive championships 1991-1993


  • The three-peat. Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the third of 3 consecutive championships 1991-1993

  • Bill Clinton, President. 1993-2001


  • Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the first of 3 more consecutive championships 1996-1998

  • Dolly the Sheep was the first cloned mammal.


  • Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the second of 3 more consecutive championships 1996-1998


  • The repeat of the three-peat. The Chicago Bulls Basketball wins the first of 3 more consecutive championships 1996-1998.

  • The construction of the Museum Campus was completed




  • September 11th, 2001 World Trade Center attack

  • War in Afghanistan

  • George W. Bush, President. 2001-2009


  • Completion of the modernized Soldier Field stadium


  • Millennium Park opens, July 16, 2004

  • Chicago Merchantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) partially combine to fend off competition

  • A monument to the firefighters lost in the 1910 Stockyard Fire is dedicated at Exchange Avenue and Peoria Street.


  • Chicago White Sox win the World Series. 2005


  • Chicago bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, was selected for the final round in 2009, but ultimately Rio was chosen as the 2016 host city.


  • Barack Obama, President 2009-2017

  • The Sears Tower is renamed Willis Tower

  • The Aqua building completed. by Studio Gang

  • Trump tower building completed


  • Chicago Blackhawks hockey team wins the Stanley Cup. 2010.

  • Chicago population approximately 2.7 million.


  • Rahm Emanuel, mayor 2011

  • Maggie Daley, former Chicago First Lady, dies of cancer

  • The Field Museum wins the Best Bathroom in the country award


  • Maggie Daley Park opens, December 13


  • Chicago Blackhawks hockey team wins the Stanley Cup for the 3rd time in 5 years.

  • Maggie Daley Park officially dedicated


  • Cubs win the World Series after 108 year losing streak

  • Chicago population approximately 2.7 million

  • More than half of the US states have legalized medical cannabis


  • Donald Trump, President 2017-

  • Total solar eclipse passes across the United States


  • North and South Korea walked together in the Winter Olympic Games 2018 in Peyongchang, South Korea

  • Portion of East Congress Parkway is renamed for civil rights activist and investigative journalist Ida B. Wells

  • SpaceX launches a Tesla electric car into space on the Falcon Heavy spacecraft headed for Mars.

  • Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea erupts

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding


  • Long time head of the City of Chicago Finance Committee resigns amid Federal investigations.

  • Chicago elects Lori Lightfoot its first African-American woman as Mayor

  • The autonomous SpaceX Dragon successfully docks with the International Space Station

Sources: see also - links within timeline content

Chicago Public Library, Encyclopedia of Chicago
WBEZ (ret. May 28, 2017)
History of Illinois (ret. May 28, 2017)
Haymarket and May Day, Encyclopedia of Chicago (ret. May 28, 2017)
Labor Day, Brittanica (ret. May 28, 2017)
Stock Market Crash, (ret. May 28, 2017)
Prohibition, Encyclopedia of Chicago (ret. May 28, 2017)
Lager Beer Riot, Encyclopedia of Chicago (ret. May 28, 2017)
Frances Xavier Cabrini. Wikipedia (Ret. May 28, 2017)
Chicago Mayors, Chicago Public Library (Ret, May 28, 2017)
Red Summer, Brittanica (Ret. May 28, 2017)
Map of the Northwest Territory, Encyclopedia of Chicago (Ret. June 5, 2017)
Illinois Michigan Canal, Encyclopedia of Chicago (Ret. June 5, 2017)
The General Time Convention, The Midwest Railway Historical Society November 18, 1971
 Three-peat Champions, Sports Illustrated. August 1, 2016
PeyongChang2018, Olympic Committee (ret. February 25, 2018)
Chicago. (ret. March 23, 2018)
Chicago History Timeline, Chicago Public Library (ret. March 23, 2018)
History of Chicago Parks, Chicago Park District (ret. March 23, 2018)