Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the US when it comes to population, but the size of a municipality is often judged on more than just homo sapiens alone. The Windy City either has or, in many cases, used to have, some of the largest monuments and most interesting attractions in the country.
So when someone asks you the question How big is Chicago? you’ll want to know these handy facts in order to answer correctly, if somewhat disinterestedly.
Tallest Building in the World
The Sears Tower used to be the tallest building in the world, but in the last decade rapidly declined to #9 on this list. Not only that, it’s not even called the Sears Tower anymore. In 2009 it was renamed the Willis Tower after a UK company bought enough office space in it that it got naming rights.
Busiest Airport in the World
Chicago used to lay claim to the world’s busiest airport, O’Hare, but after too many people confused it with Tara, from Gone With the Wind, which was founded by Gerald O’Hara, business dried up. I mean, who goes to a plantation for air travel?
Largest Population in the Country
At 2.7 million people, it’s not the largest city in the country, but being number three on this list (after New York and Los Angeles) is not too shabby. But where it really holds distinction is that in the last year it only grew by 82 people. That’s right: eight two. To put it into perspective, NY grew by 52,700, LA grew by 30,924, and even San Jose (you know, that little town roughly 50 miles south of San Francisco?) grew by 11, 964.
Square Mileage in the US
Chicago covers an area of 227 square miles of land (not including bodies of water), which is smaller than Sitka, Alaska (2,870) but bigger than Maza, North Dakota (8—yes, 8 square miles; of course, with a population of only 5, who needs all that space?).
Greatest Fire in the Country
The Great Fire of Chicago raged for three days in October of 1871, killed 300 people, caused $200 million in damages, and destroyed thousands of buildings. This fire ranks third in the biggest fires in US history, but to be fair, the other two were caused by terrorists and earthquakes. Chicago’s fire was caused by a cow.
Biggest Gangster in America
Al Capone is America’s most notorious gangster and he organized his crime in Chicago. He raked in $60 million a year selling illegal liquor during Prohibition in the 1920s. Today’s equivalent would be about $600 million per year. That’s a lot of drinking!
Oldest Current Baseball Team
The Chicago White Sox rates number 4 on the list of oldest current baseball team names in continuous use, and have had their name since 1901. Originally they were called Chicago White Stockings, but fans kept showing up at the stadium expecting to see a ballet, so they changed it.
Top City For Live Theater
First of all, I’d like to know which city offers the most dead theater. Secondly, the Second City is second only to New York for most theaters (plays, not cinema). Not only that, but Chicago is home to the world-renowned improv theater troupe, also called The Second City, where many famous comedians and actors (including Dan Ackroyd, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Bill Murray, Andrea Martin, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, James Belushi, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Carell, and Tina Fey) made their start.
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