Chicago, City of Broad Shoulders

I am teaching a class about Chicago in Sarasota, Florida. It has been interesting researching the history and current events of the City and region.

The introduction and table of contents of the blog I set up for the course are below. Or you can go to the blog at 

If you spot any mistakes or if you come up with other topics that should be covered in future classes, please let me know. My email below:


Chicago - Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders

This course will be about Chicago. We will cover the history of the city and region, the politics, the corruption, the arts, the plans, and the achievements of the City. We will discuss current events. And we will relate the development of Chicago with other cities.

Make no little plans

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.

Daniel Burnham - co wrote the Burnham Plan for Chicago 1909


     HOG Butcher for the World,
     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
     Stormy, husky, brawling,
     City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
     have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
     luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
     is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to

     kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
     faces of women and children I have seen the marks
     of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
     sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
     and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
     so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
     job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
     little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
     as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
          Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
     white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
     man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
     never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
     and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
     Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
     Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
     Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Carl Sandburg

Frank Sinatra - Chicago - YouTube

 Chicago, Chicago--that toddlin' town

Chicago is the 6th most influential city in the world according to a recent study. Chicago followed New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. The ranking shows the influence a city has beyond its own borders.                 
Click to read more:                  


"The Windy City" is one of the most well-known nicknames for Chicago. While there might be various reasons for the nickname, the windy weather that is so common in Chicago is the first thing that comes to mind. Step out onto streets of Chicago any time of the year and you will experience the wind firsthand.
"Second City" is another one of the most recognized nicknames for Chicago. One thing this nickname refers to is how much of the city was rebuilt after a significant section of the city was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in the late 1800s. Today, Chicago also has a popular comedy troupe by the name of Second City.
"Chi-Town" or "Chitown" is one of the most affectionate nicknames for Chicago. This nickname takes the beginning of name of Chicago and adds the companionable ending of town to form a well-used nickname.
"Chicagoland" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that refers not only to Chicago but its metropolitan area as well. When speaking about the city of Chicago along with its surrounding suburbs, this is a suitable nickname to use.
"City of Big Shoulders" from the Carl Sandburg poem about Chicago.
"The Big Onion" is one of the lesser known nicknames for Chicago. This nickname is similar to the nickname of "The Big Apple" for New York.
"My Kind of Town" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that was popularized by Frank Sinatra. You probably can't read the nickname without singing it in your head or maybe even out loud due to the widely recognized lyrics.
"That Toddling Town" is another one of the nicknames for Chicago that Frank Sinatra helped make popular through his music.
"Heart of America" is one of the nicknames for Chicago that refers to Chicago's location in the middle of the United States as well as being a transportation hub for the country.

Table of Contents

Early History



Interesting Articles

Bragging Rights
Things to Do