Chicago’s Worldwide Firsts and Other Notables

Continuing in my history lesson series this week, so many amazing notables to be proud of!  Facts courtesy of CORSINET.COM  unless otherwise noted.  Enjoy!

1885 – 
The 10-story Home Insurance Company Building, designed by William LeBaron Jenney, was the first tall building ever built supported by an internal frame of iron and steel rather than thick masonry walls.
(It was demolished in 1931.)

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— Chicago’s Provident Hospital was the first interracial US hospital. Established by black surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, the facility operated the first US training school for black women. In 1893 Dr. Williams performed the world’s first open-heart surgery, saving the life of a street fighter with a knife wound in an artery near his heart.

1893 – World’s Columbian Exposition Chicago, Illinois – May, 1893 through October, 1893

— Total cost for the exposition was $27,245,566.90, excluding the $3-4 million spent by state, federal, and foreign governments on their exhibit buildings.  More than $5 million in funds was used to construct the Jackson Park lakefront site. The amount of space the fair actually covered was 633 acres.  The main buildings were estimated to have a combined cost of over $8,000,000.

The World’s Columbian Exposition attracted 27 million visitors, almost 1/2 of US total population at that time.  The highest attendance day was October 9, 1893 (Chicago Day), with over 700,000 in attendance.

Famous Firsts from the fair…

Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix.
Cracker Jacks.
Cream of Wheat.
Quaker Oats.
Diet carbonated soda.
Juicy Fruit gum.
Pabst Beer, which won a blue ribbon at the fair.
Shredded Wheat.
The carnival concept was born.
The hamburger was introduced to the United States.
Milton Hershey bought a European exhibitor’s chocalate manufacturing equipment and added chocalate products to his carmel manufacturing business.  
The first exotic dancer Little Egypt.
The United States produced its first commemorative stamp set.
The US Postal Service produced its first picture postcards.
US Mint offered its first commemorative coins: a quarter, half dollar, and dollar.

1893 – Other Facts – Chicago hired its first police woman. Her name was Marie Owens. (Chicago police women did not wear uniforms until 1956.)

— The Field Museum was founded with $1 million contributed by Marshall Field. He later added a second $1 million, and when he died in 1906, he left $8 million in his will to the museum.

1895 – The first automobile race ever seen in the United States was held in Chicago. The track ran from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois. The winner was J. Frank Duryea, whose average speed was 71/2 miles per hour.

1905 – The first Rotary Club in America was founded in Chicago.

1919 – Real estate broker Archibald Teller opened the first Fannie May candy store.

1927 – Kate Sturges Buckingham donated $750,000 to the city for construction of Buckingham Fountain as a memorial to her brother Clarence. The largest fountain in the world, it shoots a water jet 135 feet high.

Jane M. Byrne, took office.

1983 – Chicago’s 1st black mayor, Harold Washington, took office.

1994 – The first game and the opening ceremonies of the first World Cup Soccer championship in the United States were held in Chicago.

Chicago is home to the world’s largest population of Poles outside of Warsaw.

The Chicago Public Library is the world’s largest public library with a collection of more than 2 million books.

The world’s largest cookie and cracker factory, where Nabisco made 16 billion Oreo cookies in 1995, is located in Chicago.

The central water filtration plant, located on the lakefront north of Navy Pier, is the largest in the world.

Chicago’s Oceanarium is the world’s largest indoor marine mammal pavilion and doubles the size of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, which is the largest indoor aquarium in the world.

The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.

The official flower of the city of Chicago is the chrysanthemum.

The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.

The Chicago River is always dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Jesse Owens, Frazier Thomas, “Wheaties,” and Muddy Waters all have a Chicago street named in their honor.

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