THE WINDY CITY?

Through the years Chicago has been known by different nicknames, but the one that stuck was definitely “The Windy City”. If you ask different people why, you will get as many different answers as people you ask. I know most of us think is called that because there’s a lot of winds, duh, but let’s learn about the real origins of this nickname.

Because of the winds

Well, just letting you know that Chicago is not the windiest city in the United States. I can name at least four other cities -out of 14- that are windier. Chicago’s average wind speed is 10.3 mph, while in Amarillo and Lubbock in Texas the average speeds are 13.5 and 12.4 mph respectively; Boston, Massachusetts with a 12.4 mph average  and in Dodge City, Kansas the Average speed is 13.9 mph. the reason Chicago is the 4th windiest city in the United States is it being on the shores of Lake Michigan, its breezes get sucked in by the buildings and into the streets.

Because of the winds
Because of the winds

Political air

Another popular theory can be credited to Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, who once wrote an editorial referring to Chicago as a Windy City because of its full-of-hot-air politicians, for being profit-centered. When Dana wrote this article, back in 1893, New York and Chicago were on a competition to host the World’s Fair, and the purpose of said article was to caution his readers about popularizing the Windy City, Chicago eventually won and ended up hosting the fair despite Dana’s “Don’t pay attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy city. Its people couldn’t build a world’s fair even if they won it”. However, according to Barry Popik the nickname “Windy City” was already popular back in the 1870s, and said nickname had two functionalities, one was to serve as a reference to Chicago’s actual windy weather, and the second one as a metaphor of its boastful citizens

Chicago’s windiest spot

Regardless of Chicago not being the windiest city in the United States we can’t deny it being windy. So if you are planning on visiting this city and aside from those famous spots like the Chicago Bean (which’s actual name is Cloud gate) located at the Millennium Park, you can go for the windiest spots as well, one of them being the IBM building, located between Wabash Avenue and State Street, it is necessary during the winter for ropes to hang from the building for people to walk through without being blown over. So it is not called “windy city” for nothing.

Chicago’s windiest spot
Chicago’s windiest spot

Other nicknames

Let’s not assume the city is only popular for its nickname “windy city” it also holds some other popular nicknames. A.J Liebling called it “the second city”. Carl Sandburg called it “the City of the Big Shoulders and Hog Butcher of the World”. Richard Daley called it “The City that Works” and Nelson Algren called it “City on the Make”. But “windy city” is the most popular worldwide.