Chicago, also known as the Windy City, has a rich history that is steeped in the stories of the people who have called this city home over the centuries. January 24th is no exception, as this day has seen a number of significant events that have shaped Chicago’s past and continue to influence its present and future.
- In 1848, the Illinois legislature granted a charter for the Illinois and Michigan Canal, connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. This event marked the beginning of Chicago’s transformation from a small frontier town to a major transportation hub and economic center.
- In 1887, the Chicago Times-Herald newspaper sponsored the first automobile race in American history, the Chicago Times-Herald Race. The race ran from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois and was won by Charles Duryea, an American inventor, engineer and businessman who co-created the first American gasoline-powered automobile.
- In 1919, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 began. The riot was a large-scale, racially motivated conflict between ethnic Irish and African American residents of Chicago. It lasted for five days and resulted in 23 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
- In 1971, the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) opened. This 110-story skyscraper was the tallest building in the world at the time of its completion, and it remains the second-tallest building in the United States (after One World Trade Center in New York City) and the 13th-tallest in the world.
These events, and many others, have shaped Chicago into the unique and diverse city it is today, and they continue to inspire and influence the city’s residents and visitors alike. January 24th, in particular, holds a special place in Chicago’s history, as it marks the day when the city saw the beginning of the transformation of its economy, the birth of the automobile industry, a tragic event of racial violence and the opening of one of the most iconic skyscraper in the world.