Mar
04

Happy Birthday, Chicago!

March 04, 2011

The City of Chicago is celebrating a birthday today, March 4, when it turns the ripe old age of 174.

Chicago was incorporated as a city on March 4, 1837.

There will be a birthday bash held today at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street, in the Gold Coast neighborhood, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. with special guests from the American Indian Center of Chicago, appearances by city officials and live music performances.

If you can prove that you share the same birthday with the Windy City, you will receive an honorary certificate signed by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Everyone will get to share the delicious birthday cake created by the Bleeding Heart Bakery.

The party is free and open to the public. For more information, visit chicagohistory.org.

A little history on this historic day: What do the three white stripes, the two blue stripes and the four stars stand for on the Chicago flag?

*The three white stripes represent Chicago’s neighborhoods on the North, South and West Sides.

*The two blue stripes represent Lake Michigan and the North and South branches of the Chicago River.

* The first star represents the frontier settlement at Fort Dearborn. The settlement was wiped out during the War of 1812, but the settlers rebuilt, and in 1837, the city of Chicago was born. There is a bronze marker in the pavement at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive to mark the site.

*The second star represents the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 300 Chicago residents, left over 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than $200,000 million worth of property and burned more than 2,000 acres. But look at Chicago now!

*The third star represents the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, or the Chicago World’s Fair, which increased real estate values, lifted the spirits of the 20 million people who attended the fair during a time of economic turmoil and set a standard against what every subsequent exposition would be measured. Held to honor the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America, it was a defining time in Chicago history.

*The fourth star represents another World Fair, the Century of Progress International Exposition of 1933 and 1934. Held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chicago, the celebration was supposed to last one year but was extended a second year due to its popularity and to earn enough money to pay off its debts.

And now you know.

Happy Birthday, Chicago!

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Tracey

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