Happy Birthday, Windy City!

March 4, 2010 9:48:52 AM PST
Chicago turns 173 years old Thursday. Mayor Richard Daley will lead the city's celebration at the Chicago History Museum. Festivities include a birthday cake, historic readings and music.

Chicago was incorporated on March 4 in 1837.

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