Happy Birthday, Chicago!

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">This is a drawing of a junction at the Chicago River known as Wolfs Point, in Chicago, Ill., seen in 1832. The house on the left is a tavern kept by Elijah Wentworth, where Gen. Scott made his headquarters during the Black Hawk War. At right is the Miller House. Each building was used as the need arose for Sunday services, school house, taverns and private residences. &#40;AP Photo&#47;George Davis&#41;</span></div>
March 4, 2009 11:26:27 AM PST
A look at our city's rich history- on its 172nd birthday.Before becoming a city, the area known as Chicago was home to Native Americans- the Mascoutens and Miamis- who traded with neighboring tribes- the Potawatomis, Fox and Illinois. The word Chicago comes from the French version of the word shikaakwa, which means wild leek or skunk in the language of the Miama-Illinois. The wild leeks or onions grew along the Chicago River.

After the Black Hawk War in 1832, the tribes ceded Illinois lands in 1833.

City's Timeline:

  • August 12, 1833: Chicago incorporates as a town with the population of 350. Boundaries for the 3/8th of a mile are Kinzie to Madison and Des Plaines to State Street. Chicago Firsts in 1833: First brewery, first printing press.
  • March 4, 1837: Chicago is granted city charter by the state of Illinois. First city directory is published 2 years later.
  • 1840: Population grows to 4,470 with Chicago as the 92nd most populous city in the U.S.
  • 1850: Chicago gets its first opera and first orchestra. Population hits 29,963.
  • 1860: Chicago gets its first post office. One year later, the first baseball game is played here. Population climbs to 112,172
  • 1870: Chicago White Stockings baseball team founded. Population hits 298,977.
  • 1880: Population hits half million mark.
  • 1890: Chicago gets its first oil refinery and becomes second largest city in nation with 1,099,850 people.
  • 1900: First pay telephones, Sanitary and Ship Canal built. Population hits 1,698,575.
  • 1910: First lit night game in Chicago (at Comiskey). Population hits 2,185,283.
  • 1920: Michigan Avenue bridge opens. Negro National League founded, along with Bears football team (as Decatur Staleys). Population 2,701,705
  • 1930: Board of Trade Building, Adler Planetarium founded. Population 3,376,438
  • 1940: More than 1 million telephones in Chicago. Population 3,396, 808
  • 1950: Buses replace streetcars. One year later, Edens Expressway opens. Population 3,620,962
  • 1960: McCormick Place Convention Center founded. First Playboy Club, Cardinals (football) moves to St. Louis. Population falls to 3,550,404
  • 1970: Union Stock Yard closes. Population 3,369,357
  • 1980: First female firefighters join Chicago Fire Department. Population 3,005,072
  • 1990 : Original Comiskey Park demolished. Los Angeles passes Chicago on population. Population 2,783,726
  • 2000: Population is 2,896,016