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Butcher of hogs and believer in progress, it is one of the world's great cities, and yet the metropolitan luxuries of theater, shopping, and fine dining have barely put a dent in real Midwestern friendliness.
It's a city with a swagger, but without the surliness or even the fake smiles found in other cities of its size.
Some say it may have been coined by rivals like Cincinnati and New York as a derogatory reference to the Chicagoan habit of rabid boosterism and endless political conventions.
Others say that the term originated from the fact that Chicago politicians change their minds "as often as the wind." Yet another saying is that the name came about because of Chicago's long-winded politicians.
The moniker has stuck, in no small part due to its popular association with the city's long-held former position as the United States' second largest city.
And many know the nickname from Chicago's great comedy theater in Old Town. During the Prohibition era, Chicago's criminal world, emblemized by names like Al Capone, Baby Face Nelson, and later Sam Giancana, practically ran the city.
Chicago was known as a fine place to find a wild onion if you were a member of the Potawatomi tribe, who lived in this area of Illinois before European settlers arrived.
The good public transport, as well as its historical (and current) role as a major rail hub make Chicago one of the places best suited for visiting the United States without a car.
It could be argued that nature never intended for there to be a city here; brutal winters aside, it took civil engineering projects of unprecedented scale to establish working sewers, reverse the flow of the river to keep it out of the city's drinking supply, and stop buildings from sinking back into the swamps — and that was just the first few decades.
Chicago became a waypoint between the Great Lakes and the Wild West, where boats came to drop off settlers, and load crops and other goods from the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.
Finally, the city is known as The City That Works, as promoted by longtime Mayor Richard M.
Daley, which refers to Chicago's labor tradition, the long hours worked by its residents, and its willingness to tackle grand civic projects. Daley, ruled the city for decades in what can only be described as a benevolent dictatorship; as other Midwestern manufacturing cities like Cleveland and Detroit went into decline, Chicago thrived, transforming from a city of stockyards and factories to a financial giant at the forefront of modern urban design.Dress warm in the winter, and prepare to cover a lot of ground; the meaning of Chicago is only found in movement, through subways and archaic elevated tracks, in the pride of tired feet and eyes raised once more to the sky.