Most people are somewhat familiar with the great museums, restaurants and cultural opportunities that the city has to offer. Following are 7 things you might not know about Chicago.
1. THE WILLIS TOWER, formerly the Sears Tower, is the tallest building in the United States and the Western hemisphere. It rises 110 stories and stands 1,450 feet tall. The antenna atop the building extends the total height to 1729 feet. The building contains 3.8 million square feet of combined office and retail space. A 104 car, high-speed elevator system is operated with the help of 80 miles of elevator cable. From the Skydeck observation platform, you can see Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
2. THE MERCHANDISE MART is the world’s largest commercial building. Built by the Marshall Field family, the building was completed in 1920. It takes up 2 full city blocks, has 25 floors and up until 2008, had its own zip code. Construction of the 4.2 million gross square feet of interior space required 4 million cubic yards of cement, 60,000 tons of steel and 29 million bricks. More than 10 million people visit the building each year.
3. THE CHICAGO RIVER IS DYED GREEN every St. Patrick’s Day. In celebration of the holiday, spectators line the river to watch 40 pounds of food coloring turn the river a bright Irish green. There is said to be a little luck of the leprechaun as the orange-colored dye goes into the river and magically starts to turn green. After a few passes of a speed boat, the propeller stirs the dye and produces the bright green effect.
4. THE BOB NEWHART SHOW was a popular situation comedy show of the 1970s. Dr. Bob Hartley and his wife Emily lived in apartment 523. Their building was based on the facade of the Thorndale Beach North Condominiums located at 5901 N. Sheridan Road in the upscale Chicago neighborhood of Edgewater.
5. THE HISTORICAL ROUTE 66 which was the first paved highway across America started at Grant Park across from the Art Institute of Chicago. It ran southwest from Chicago to Los Angeles until it became obsolete when the Interstate Highway System was started under the Eisenhower Administration. Today, portions of Route 66 remain functional and are part of the National Scenic Highway System.
6. THE CHICAGO CUBS have not won a World Series since they beat the Detroit Tigers in 1908. They actually made it to the World Series in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945, but came out on the losing end every time. They have not been back to the World Series since – a stretch of 66 years.
7. THE TWINKIE was invented by James Alexander Dewar of the Continental Baking Company in 1930. The original version of the “Golden Sponge cake with Creamy Filling” had a banana filling. During WWII, bananas were in short supply and the iconic pastry switched to a vanilla creme. The name came from a billboard that Dewar saw advertising “Twinkle Toe Shoes.” There is no truth to the urban legend that the Twinkie was just as edible if it was consumed in 20 years after it was baked as it was the day after it was baked is probably attributable to the fact that it contains no unstable dairy products. The product may still be edible after a few weeks, but the spongy cake and soft cream will likely be hard and somewhat stale.
Chicago is one of the greatest of all American cities. It is the third largest city in the United States. Hotel management companies are kept busy preparing their properties to welcome the millions and millions of visitors that spend at least one night in a Chicago hotel. The Windy City sits on the shores of Lake Michigan.