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12 things to know about Chicago

It's 12/12/12. So how about a dozen interesting factoids about the Second City?

1. Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837.

2. The Harold Washington Library Center is the world's largest public library.

3. The gloves are off: 16-inch softball was invented in Chicago.

4. Route 66 starts in Grant Park.

5. Dan Ryan Sr. and Jr. were active Democrats in Chicago. Both served as Cook County Board President. The expressway was an idea Ryan Jr. had in 1933.

6. Chicago used to have streetcars.

7. Each symbol and color on the Chicago flag represents something, namely the lake, rivers, the Fort Dearborn massacre, the World Fairs and the Chicago Fire of 1871. Check out the Historical Society's interactive diagram of the flag.

8. The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel is modeled after the first Ferris wheel, which debuted in Chicago at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

9. Chicagoans reversed the flow of the river.

10. State and Madison are the baseline for Chicago's street numbering system.

11. You know those brown signs on some streets? The City Council passed an Honorary Street Name Ordinance in 1984 that honored local heroes on these brown signs instead of changing street names.

12. The Chicago Folklore Society was founded in 1891 to study lore and legends that explain Chicago events and figures, like the city name's origin and rumors about Al Capone.


Sources: The City of Chicago and the Chicago Historical Society

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