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Holyoke Class Mt. Bol Ph. Catherine University St. Edward's University St. Joseph's College-New York St. Lawrence University St. Mary's University St. Norbert College St. In , a construction accident near the Kinzie Street Bridge produced a breach connecting the Chicago River to a tunnel below, which was part of an abandoned freight tunnel system extending throughout the downtown Loop district. Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern shores of freshwater Lake Michigan.


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It is the principal city in the Chicago metropolitan area , situated in both the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region. The city rests on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage , connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds.

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In addition to it lying beside Lake Michigan, two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow either entirely or partially through the city. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan.

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While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect: moderating Chicago's climate, making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer. When Chicago was founded in , most of the early building was around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks.

While the Chicago Loop is the central business district, Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods. Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's waterfront. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings are close to the waterfront. An informal name for the entire Chicago metropolitan area is "Chicagoland", which generally means the city and all its suburbs.

Major sections of the city include the central business district, called The Loop , and the North, South , and West Sides. The South Side contains most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago. In the lates, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas , which can further be subdivided into over informally defined neighborhoods.

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Chicago's streets were laid out in a street grid that grew from the city's original townsite plot, which was bounded by Lake Michigan on the east, North Avenue on the north, Wood Street on the west, and 22nd Street on the south. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and sixteen in the other direction about one street per meters in one direction and one street per meters in the other direction.

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The grid's regularity provided an efficient means of developing new real estate property. A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally Native American trails, also cross the city Elston, Milwaukee, Ogden, Lincoln, etc. Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago , but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed. In , Chicago was ranked the sixth-most walkable large city in the United States.

This helps to keep pedestrians on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic. Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's boulevards and parkways.

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The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In , the first steel-framed high-rise building , the Home Insurance Building , rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era , [59] which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Atwood, John Root, and Helmut Jahn. Industrial districts , such as some areas on the South Side , the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal , and the Northwest Indiana area are clustered. Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School , two movements in architecture.

Large swaths of the city's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. A popular tourist activity is to take an architecture boat tour along the Chicago River. Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art with donors establishing funding for such art as far back as Benjamin Ferguson's trust. Some events which shaped the city's history have also been memorialized by art works, including the Great Northern Migration Saar and the centennial of statehood for Illinois.

Finally, two fountains near the Loop also function as monumental works of art: Plensa's Crown Fountain as well as Burnham and Bennett's Buckingham Fountain. The July daily average temperature is Winters are relatively cold and snowy, although the city typically sees less snow and rain in winter than that experienced in the eastern Great Lakes region ; blizzards do occur, as in Dew point temperatures in the summer range from an average of The city lies within USDA plant hardiness zone 6a, transitioning to 5b in the suburbs.


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  • The region is also prone to severe thunderstorms during the spring and summer which can produce large hail, damaging winds, and occasionally tornadoes. The proximity to Lake Michigan tends to keep the Chicago lakefront somewhat cooler in summer and less brutally cold in winter than inland parts of the city and suburbs away from the lake. The border with the Eastern Time Zone is located a short distance to the east, used in Michigan and certain parts of Indiana.

    During its first hundred years, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. When founded in , fewer than people had settled on what was then the American frontier. By the time of its first census, seven years later, the population had reached over 4, At the end of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world, [] and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Today, Chicago's South Side and the adjoining south suburbs constitute the largest black majority region in the entire United States.


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    • Chicago's population declined in the latter half of the 20th century, from over 3. By the time of the official census count in , it was overtaken by Los Angeles as the United States' second largest city. The city has seen a rise in population for the census and is expected to have an increase for the census. Per U. As of the census , [] there were 2,, people with 1,, households living in Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area.

      Chicago is one of the United States' most densely populated major cities, and the largest city in the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The racial composition of the city was:.

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      Chicago has a Hispanic or Latino population of Its members may belong to any race; According to the U. About According to the — American Community Survey, the ancestral groups having 10, or more persons in Chicago were: []. Persons identifying themselves as "Other groups" were classified at 1.

      Religion in Chicago [] []. The majority of Chicago's population have been and remain predominantly Christian, being the 4th-most religious metropolis in the United States after Dallas , Atlanta and Houston. Chicago is the headquarters of several religious denominations, including the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

      It is the seat of several dioceses. The Fourth Presbyterian Church is one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the United States based on memberships. The first two Parliament of the World's Religions in and were held in Chicago.

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      Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second-largest central business district in the United States. In , Chicago exchanges traded 4. Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area contain the third-largest labor pool in the United States with about 4. Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International , Boeing , Abbott Laboratories , and the Healthcare division of General Electric.

      In the s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the s and s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company , created global enterprises.