Chicago Trivia

Why is Chicago called the Windy City?

  •  The term "Windy City" came into common usage when it was popularized by New York City editor, Charles Dana, in The Sun during the bidding for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Chicago won the Exposition, which did not please Dana. It was referring to the Chicago politicians bragging about their city or "blowing wind". The popularity of the nickname has endured, even after the rivalry ended.

Where did the name  Chicago originate?

  •  The name Chicago is derived from the local Indian word chicagoua for the native garlic plant (not onion) Allium tricoccum. 

When was the Great Chicago Fire?

  •  Sunday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 10, 1871
  •  The fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles (9 km2) of Chicago and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. 

What were the only buildings in the path of the Great Chicago Fire that didn't burn?


  • St. Michael's Church, Old Town
  • Chicago Water Tower and Chicago Avenue Pumping Station
  • St. Ignatius College (now St. Ignatius College Prep, on Roosevelt) 

Which way does the Chicago River flow?


  • A reversal flow of the Chicago River into Lake Michigan would have a negative impact on navigation and on the quality of Lake Michigan water which is the source of drinking water. Chicago's raw sewage in the river is normally carried upstream toward the Mississippi River which flows south towards the Gulf of Mexico 

  Where did the first controlled nuclear chain reaction take place? 

  • Enrico Fermi produced the first nuclear chain reaction in December 1942. He created a jury-rigged laboratory with the necessary equipment, which he called an “atomic pile,” in a squash court in the basement of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.