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Key Issues

  • Early skyscrapers and other 19th-century architecture
  • Important events like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the World’s Fairs of 1893 and 1933-1934
  • Historic photos and perspectives on Chicago

About This Topic

Chicago has so many amazing stories to tell.

Some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers were built here. Two World’s Fairs brought millions to the prairie to see inventions ranging from the Ferris Wheel to chocolate brownies. Great architects like Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and Frank Lloyd Wright called Chicago home.

In this section of our website, we’re collecting these stories and sharing new perspectives on the past.

Latest Updates on Historic Chicago


From CAC

Chicago architecture in fall


Chicago’s summers may get all the attention, but the city’s architecture looks best with fall’s bright colors as a backdrop. We've rounded up some photos of Chicago in fall to get you in the autumn mood.

From CAC

5 pieces of Chicago art you should know


From the traditional realism of the Art Institute's bronze lions to the sleek modernism of the "Cloud Gate" in Millennium Park, Chicago is filled with great works of public art. Here are five pieces you should know.

From CAC

5 Chicago sites named after former mayors


Have you visited Toni Preckwinkle Park? What about Lori Lightfoot Library? These places don’t exist in Chicago yet, but depending on who wins the city’s mayoral race on April 2, one of these (or others) may be among the sites named for former mayors.

From CAC

5 things to know about Pullman


Pullman is a unique South Side neighborhood that serves as a focal point for railroad, labor and Chicago history. Established in 1880 by Pullman Car Company founder George Pullman, it was among the first planned company towns in the U.S.

From CAC

5 interesting facts about West Loop


Originally home to industrial spaces and wholesale food markets, West Loop is now exploding with modern high-rises, top-tier restaurants and new residential and office buildings, many adaptively reused from old former warehouses.