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My Blog

The Windy City of Chicago

Good morning to all.  Well another weekend has arrived.  A long weekend is here...September is just around the corner.  Well, a cleaning day for me.  I am planning on getting the projects finished today that I worked on yesterday.  I flip flopped from one project to the next and accomplished a great deal...now a clean up day and on to the next batch of paintings. 
I have sat here this morning and listened to the storms that fell this morning and to look out the window now...you would never have know that it rained if it were not for the wet pavements.  The sun is out and shining...I thought for sure it would be a horrible day based on the rain that fell only an hour ago.  The weather is certainly unpredictable here in the Chicago land area.  So I decided that the Windy City would be the topic for today's blog.  Everyone knows of Chicago as the Windy City...most think it is because it is actually very windy here and that is why it carries that stigma, but during a wonderful architectural tour of the Chicago River, I found out differently.  It was evidently due to a long winded politician's.  There are 3 other reasons that some claim Chicago is noted the Windy city...although to me, this seems the most plausible.  The tour along the river was quite educational and most entertaining.  To see the city from the boat was a very different perspective.  If one really sits there on top of the waters...you cannot help but wonder what it took to set down roots of a building right there along it's edge. 
I just happen to live right off the Chicago River and when I often try to imagine of how many people have traveled up and down this river.  It seems that the first recorder travelers were Joliet and Marquette in the year 1673, then Jean Baptiste Point due Sable who built a farm on the northern bank at the mouth of the river in the 1780s. When I think of the hundreds of years that exist prior to my existence...it is staggering.  To think of those pioneers who traveled and ventured along uncharted grounds makes me wonder how it all became what it is today.  I have to stop and consider that there were no bridges either.  It made me wonder about how this city became so big.  We know that it is because of these waterways that the city was developed...in fact, in the beginning...bordering the waterways was the most important thing that each state fought for.  In the very beginning of Illinois' existence...we did not have the same borders that exist now.  Our border was below the tip of Lake Michigan.  All was changed back in 1818 thanks to a man called Nathanial Pope.  While Illinois was populated in the south, very few residents lived north of Vandalia in 1818. But as the Illinois delegate to Congress, Pope was determined to put Illinois on the map, even if it meant rearranging the map. It was Pope  who argued that if Illinois was given more of the lake front, the trade in the state would be more connected with northern states by way of the lakes. Trade would flow through the north rather than along the rivers of the south. It would make the great lakes the center of commerce rather than the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
So, for all of us who enjoy the waters of Chicago, all of us who go down to the lakes each years, dock their boats in the harbor and travel along it's lakes and rivers...we need to give a nod to Mr. Pope.   So, while the weather is still beautiful and you have a chance to enjoy it...why not take an architectural tour of the Chicago River.  Learn about the buildings and how they got there.  Walk along the Pier that was supposed to have belonged to Wisconsin and is now one of the busiest places in the city of Chicago.  Enjoy the winds from the lake which help to make it a pleasurable stroll in the Windy City. 

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