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A Brief History Of The Chicago Union Stockyards

In 1848, the area that is now Chicago was a crossroads for shipping livestock between the Western half of the United States and the more populated areas in the East. Smaller stockyards, including Cottage Grove and Lake Shore Yards, were scattered thought the area. As railroads expanded westward, Chicago needed to become larger and more centralized. The blockade of the Mississippi River during the Civil war and the arrival of larger numbers meatpackers and more livestock also contributed to this.

In 1864, nine railroad companies acquired a 320 acre area in the southwest of Chicago with plans to build a new centralized stockyard that would act as a commercial connection between the East and the West. Located within the boundaries of Pershing Ave, Halsted St, 47th St, and Ashland Ave, the Union Stock Yard and Transit Company opened on December 25, 1865. The stockyard had grown to 475 acres by 1900. A number of major meatpacking companies built their operations in the areas near the Stockyard, including Armour, Swift, Morris and Hammond. These companies produced 82% of the meat eaten in the country.

Technological breakthroughs such as the invention of an ice cooled unit in 1872 and the invention of the first refrigerated railroad car in 1882 revolutionized the industry. No longer restricted to the winter months, meatpacking could be done year round and processed meat could be shipped to eastern markets. Chicago meatpackers also pioneered assembly line productions decades before Henry Ford.
Union Stock Yards employees worked extended hours in extreme temperatures and poor conditions. Wages were low and benefits were nonexistent because of the steady stream of immigrant workers. Workers attempted to unionize and go on strike in an attempt to better their working conditions, but early efforts were unsuccessful due to the various groups’ failure to organize cohesively with each other.

The Great Depression helped to dissolve barriers between ethnic groups and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 guaranteed workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively. The Congress of Industrial Organizations’ Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee was established in 1937 and helped to unify laborers and improve working conditions.

After WWII, the federal highway system grew rapidly and coupled with the development of the refrigerated truck, packing houses were able to be moved out of expensive urban areas. Other factors including competition within the meatpacking business, urban growth and the fact that meatpackers began doing business more directly with farmers contributed to the stockyards decline.

In 1955, Wilson and Company ceased their operation in Chicago and were followed by the rest of the major companies. Chicago’s Union Stock Yards officially closed on July 31, 1971. The area is now an industrial park and home to a number of factories. None of the original structures remain, save the large limestone arch that marked the entrance to the stockyards.

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A Look At Chicago’s Pullman District

How well do you know your history of Chicago? What about the Chicago Pullman District? The unique community was built in 1880 – 1884 in Chicago’s South Side as a planned model industrial town for the Pullman’s Palace Car Company to create and produce the Pullman sleeping car. On October 8, 1969 the National Register of Historic Places listed the Pullman factory, and in December 1970 it became a National Historic Landmark. The town is known for having historic origins – not to mention the Pullman Company is one of the most famous company towns in the US.

Driving through the Pullman District, it’s really easy to spot the Pullman factory and the Hotel Florence. There was a time when Pullman’s daughter was operating and running the Hotel Florence, but now the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has taken over and is running it. You can find the area of the historic location east of Cottage Grove Avenue.

For all of you history buffs like me, you may even know the town being the center of attention of the Pullman strike in 1894 where the violent riots caused millions in damages and 30 people were killed.

Any movie buffs out here? You may even know that Hollywood has featured the historic Pullman city as the location in multiple movies, including Road to Perdition, starring Tom Hanks. The movie didn’t just take place there either; it was also filmed in the area. Remember the one armed man in the 1993 Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones movie, The Fugitive? His character was living in the Pullman area. Film isn’t the only one honoring the Pullman District; back in November 2006 Pullman was featured on the popular HGTV series National Open House, where it showcased one of the houses on 112th and Langley.

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Life At The University Of Illinois Chicago UIC

Being a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago is always an adventure. With classes, culture, and endless activities there is always something to do on campus. If there is ever a lull in campus activities, I’m located just minutes away from a bustling downtown metropolis. Being a student at UIC also comes with challenges, such a demanding classes, tight deadlines, and tough competition. These challenges, however, will help me learn life lessons that I can’t find at any other university in the world other than UIC.
UIC is a major research university that provides students like me with a world-class education. I know that I will be able to take the skills and lessons that I learn at UIC and translate them to the profession that I choose to go into. I know that UIC is committed to me as they continue to expand in national and international stature.
UIC is the largest university in the Chicago area and has over 27,000 students. I’m considering a career in medicine and it is great knowing that the nation’s largest medical school is also located at UIC. This school serves as Illinois’s principal school for producing doctors, dentists, nurses, and other professionals in health related careers.
The annual amount of money spent on research at UIC is enormous. Over $335 million is spent every year on research related spending. There are 15 different colleges at UIC for students to find their passion. I am also always within arm’s reach of a faculty member, and with over 2,500 full time faculty members I am always able to have my questions answered.
I am also incredibly lucky to have a diverse campus. Over one third of the students at UIC speak English as their second language. Many of my friends I’ve made at school are from abroad or are first generation Americans. It is always interesting learning about cultures different than my own and I know that my experience at UIC is truly unique.

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Looking For Chicago Fun This Weekend? Late August Happenings

If you’re looking to change things up before summer is completely gone, here are some great suggestions to try around Chicago this weekend.

Taste of Latin America

If you want to get the whole family out and about in the Windy City any day this weekend, head out to the Taste of Latin America, August 24th-26th. This kid-friendly festival showcases food from Central and South America. It also has music, arts and crafts, and wine. There will be chef demonstrations and competitions. This is a new festival located along Armitage Avenue from Central Park to Alvers Street.

Chicago Cultural Center Tour

Meet at the Randolph Street lobby and take a guided tour of this historic architectural landmark right by Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Tours depart at 1:15PM on Friday and Saturday, and best of all the tours are free. You’ll be dazzled by the Tiffany stained-glass dome, which is the largest in the world, as well as other breath-taking features of the beautiful building.

Improvised Shakespeare

Each Friday night at 8:00PM and 10:30PM, The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style. They take suggestions from the audience and work with all the insane material you throw their way. They perform at the IO Theater Chicago at 3541 North Clark Street, which is right off of the Addison red line stop on the El train.

Green Mill Quartet Jazz Jam Session

If you’re looking to take in some late night jazz, then head to Green Mill on Saturday night. Starting at 1:30AM, you can catch the Quartet Jam Session that goes until 4:00AM at this historic music venue. Take a cab to 4802 North Broadway and enjoy the show.

Super Mario Burlesque

How about racy way to spend the night with friends? Then you have to see this cult show that’s running at the Gorilla Tango Theatre. Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque is a romping send-up of the icon video game. There’s plenty to see on Friday night at 7:30PM, 1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Whether you’d like take in a naughty show with friends, or you need something tamer for the entire family, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago this weekend.

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10 South Chicago Suburbs

Are you thinking about moving to the south Chicago suburbs, but not really sure where to begin? Moving can be a frustrating time and deciding on which area you should move to is often the hardest part in the moving process. Many people turn to the internet for tips and information regarding the areas they are interested in living in. Here is a quick look at the top 10 south Chicago suburbs worth checking out if you’re in the market.

Palos Heights — Palos Heights is the destination for anyone looking to move to a smaller town that’s still a reasonable commute to the city. You can enjoy the small town life, but still have the city of Chicago right at your fingertips, just a short distance away.

Chicago Heights — Chicago Heights is another smaller town that gives off the feel of being in the city. With affordable homes, Chicago Heights could be an area worth checking out for your family to move to.

Frankfort — Enjoy the feel of being in a “downtown” area without the hustle and bustle of a big city. With Orland Park being around the corner, you can still enjoy tons of shopping, an exciting nightlife, and delicious restaurants only a few minutes away.

Lemont — Lemont is a little southwest of Chicago and an exciting and safe area to move to; whether you’re a young worker or parent looking for a great place to raise your family. Lemont is a little pricier than the other previous cities mentioned, but the fun nightlife, recreational activities for kids, delicious restaurants, and fun boutiques and shopping the town has to offer make everything well worth it.

Other great areas worth visiting are Tinley Park, Hazel Crest, Orland Park, Lockport, and Palos Hills. It’s best to do some Internet research and visit the cities you’re interested in moving to. Before making a final decision, it’s good to see if you can see yourself living in that particular city.

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The Chicago Cubs And The Curse Of The Billy Goat

Superstition and rituals have been a part of national baseball, since its inception dating all the way back to the 18th century, but sometimes strange events take on mythical proportions that seem to haunt specific teams. The Chicago Cubs, legend goes, have been suffering under a curse since 1945 that many fans attribute to the consistently inconsistent regular season record. Cubs fans are some of the most loyal fans around, but the Curse of the Billy Goat still seems to have lasting affects, even in our times.

How It Started
The unlucky event occurred, so the story goes, when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern Billy Sianis was asked to leave a 1945 World Series game the Chicago Cubs where hosting at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Tigers. Sianis brought his pet goat to the game and fans were complaining about its fowl odor. Outraged by this insult Sianis exclaimed, “Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more,” which horrified fans in earshot because they took this to mean there would never be a World Series game won at Wrigley Field.

There are many versions of how this event played out, but whatever transpired that day, the fact is that the Cubs were leading the Tigers two games to one. In that 1945 series, they ended up losing in Game 4 in the best-out-of-seven series. The Tigers walked away with the title. Over the years, whispers were heard throughout the bleachers and eventually newspapers began carrying the story.
How to Get Rid of The Goat
In an attempt to appease the spirits of ghostly goats, Sam Sianis, the nephew of Billy Sianis, has been ushered out onto Wrigley Field with goat in tow on various occasions, as a sort of peace offering, to quell this curse. Sianis has gone on record stating that he believes the only way for the curse to be broken is if the Cubs organization shows a true fondness for goats. Allowing goats back into the stadium, not as a publicity stunt, but to allow them to enjoy a game is the only way these malevolent forces can be pacified. Suffice it to say that if this did ever come to pass, I imagine the goats would be just as passionate and just as critical as Cub fans have ever been.

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History Of Chicago’s Midway Airport

Midway International Airport is located on the southwest side of Chicago, eight miles from the Loop. It’s the second-largest passenger airport in the Chicago airport, and in the entire state of Illinois. Built in 1923 the Chicago Air Park had twelve hangars and four runways. It primarily served small airmail contractors until 1931, when a new passenger terminal and administration building were dedicated by Mayor Anton Cermak. By the very next year, the airport boasted over 100,000 passengers who rode on 60,947 flights, earning it the title of the World’s Busiest airport.

In 1941, Midway played a part in World War II initiatives primarily because of its location and long runways. This proved to be a great benefit to the airport, as $1 million from the Works Progress Administration funded the construction of additional runways, while a judge ordered the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad to reroute all of its tracks bordering the airfield to accommodate the expansion. That year, 25% of the nation’s air passengers were handled by Midway.

The airport officially gained the name of “Chicago Midway Airport” in 1949 by way of a unanimous vote of Chicago’s City Council. The name was given to honor the Battle of Midway, fought during World War II. 3.2 million passengers passed through the airport in 1949, a number that grew to 3.5 million the following year and ballooned to 10 million by 1959.

Massive reconstruction efforts began in 1967, bolstered in part by $10 million invested in the airport in 1968 by the City of Chicago. These funds added 28 gates, three ticket counters, and partially funded the Stevenson Expressway, which has become a major route to the airport for passengers. In 1993, the Chicago Transit Authority opened a new terminal at the airport, connecting passengers throughout the city to the airport via public transit.

The City of Chicago has continued to invest in Midway International Airport, and passengers have reaped the benefits. Over 75% of all flights to the airport arrived on time in 2007, and ranked highest in customer satisfaction in 2008, as per J.D. Power and Associates. The airport continues to handle a large number of passengers everyday, serving as one of Chicago’s major transportation hubs.

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A Visit To Water Tower Place Mall

Once considered the tallest building in the world, the 74 story skyscraper Water Tower Place houses a mall that is the epicenter of shopping in the Midwest. Situated on the Magnificent Mile on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, this stunning building near the John Hancock Observatory takes shopping to a whole new level. There are 7 floors of retail spaces, boutiques, restaurants, Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse and the historic Ritz-Carlton Hotel. In addition, there are many private businesses and residences in the building, Oprah Winfrey being perhaps the most famous full-time resident, when she acquired a $6,000,000 luxury condominium there in 2006.

A Little History : Water Tower Place Mall

This famous skyscraper is named after the Chicago Avenue Pumping Station, one of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire and known to locals as the Water Tower. It was conceived by Mafco Company in the 1960s, a division of the Marshall Field Company and is America’s first “vertical mall.” When it was completed in 1975, this single building drew many middle class shoppers onto the Magnificent Mile, which was mostly dominated by high-end retailers, posh hotels, and opulent apartments.

What You’ll Find : Water Tower Place Mall

Some stores within the mall are so popular you can find a space in the mall and another shop out on Michigan Avenue. Popular retailers are American Girl’s flagship store, The Lego Store, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Coach, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret and many more. Dining venues include deca Restaurant + Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Godiva Chocolatier, foodlife, Teavana and other delectable offerings. Paid parking is available at the mall, and there are many special events at different stores throughout the year. If it easily fits into your holiday plans, visiting Water Tower Place and the Magnificent Mile to see the lights is a truly breathtaking experience during the Christmas season.

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Beggar’s Pizza : A Chicago Legend : Deep Dish Baby!

Chicago offers some of the most amazing food in the country. If you’re a fan of pizza (who isn’t), Beggar’s Pizza is definitely one to try if you haven’t already. Topped with ample cheese, decently seasoned sauce, and buttery thin crust, this pizza is to die for!

Beggar’s Has Been in the Pizza Business for Over 30 Years

Angelo Garetto opened the very first Beggar’s restaurant at the corner of Western Avenue and 127th Street in Blue Island 35 years ago, and has since expanded to 20 locations scattered throughout Chicagoland. Coming from the south side, this is a pizza I grew up on and certainly one that I don’t think I could live without.

Here’s a cool review from just over in Indiana at the Beggar’s location in Crown Point:

Visit the Beggar’s Pizza in Lansing for a Unique Family Dining Experience

The Beggar’s restaurant in Blue Island instantly became a neighborhood favorite. Soon their clientele included patrons from all over the Chicago area which lead to an additional store in Merrionette Park. After opening five more restaurants in the area in order to keep up with demand and in an effort to reach more of their customers, Beggars is now a growing franchise. If you get the chance, check out their Lansing location at 3524 Ridge Road. This location is one of the last remaining pipe organ pizzerias in the U.S. Be sure to bring the whole family, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6pm – 9pm you can enjoy a tasty pizza pie and drinks on multi-level seating while listening to Glenn Taller on the massive pipe organ. The kids will love it!

Look for a Beggar’s Pizza near you and see for yourself why so many people in the Chicago area recommend them as their pizza of choice.

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History Of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

The history of O’Hare International Airport begins in 1942, when a plot of undeveloped land in Cook County was purchased by the War Production Board of the United States of America. This 1,790-acre plot of land was bought for the purpose of constructing an aircraft factory that would produce military planes during World War II. This site was also used as the home of many experimental aircraft as well as captured enemy planes, which were eventually donated to the National Air museum, and are now the centerpieces of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. That said, the airport was still home to military operations until 1999, serving as the location of the O’Hare Reserve Station, which was primarily used by the Air Force National Guard and the Air Force Reserve until that time.

After the conclusion of World War II, 1,080 acres of the land were transferred to the City of Chicago from the United States government, and was renamed Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 1949. It’s named after Lieutenant Commander Edward O’Hare, who died in the line of duty and was awarded the Congressional Medal of honor in 1942.

Commercial air traffic didn’t begin at the site until 1955; today, Chicago O’Hare International Airport serves more than 50 domestic and international carriers by way of 6 runways and 162 gates covering roughly 7,700 acres of land. It’s one of the busiest airports in the entire world, and has carried that distinction since the early 1960’s. Running at peak capacity, there are more than 200 takeoffs and landings per hour, and roughly 200,000 passengers and 4,300 metric tons of cargo pass through the airport every day. As aviation demands are growing, the airport is currently in the midst of a modernization upgrade to cope with expected increases in passengers and cargo.

The modernization efforts are important, certainly, but Chicago O’Hare International Airport has done an excellent job coping with the massive number of current passengers. Part of this is due to its intra-airport transportation, which boasts a 2.5-mile people mover system that functions 24 hours per day, delivering passengers to and from remote parking lots as well as the airport’s four terminals. Passengers will appreciate the updates when they are complete, of course, but even as it is now, Chicago O’Hare remains one of the world’s great airports.

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