19 Facts about Chicago that will Impress Your Friends

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Are you ready to impress your friends with your insider knowledge of the City of Big Shoulders? Let’s take a look at 19 interesting facts that many don’t know about this fine city.

  1. Paris’s Louvre is the only art museum in the world with a larger collection of Impressionist paintings than the Art Institute of Chicago.
  2. The first ever Blood Bank was founded in Chicago in 1937.
  3. Western Avenue is the longest street in the entire world, and at 62 car dealerships on this stretch, it also has more car dealerships than on any other single street.
  4. Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is one of only 3 free zoos in the entire world.
  5. The only place in the world where you can drive through a postal facility as at 433 West Van Buren, Chicago, IL.
  6. Companies look for convention space would be wise to check out McCormick Place in The Loop. With 2.2 million square feet, there’s more available exhibit space then you’ll find at any other convention center in the country.
  7. There are more people of Polish decent in Chicago than you’ll find anywhere outside the city of Warsaw itself.
  8. With more than 2,000,000 books in its collection, the Harold Washington Library, a part of the Chicago Public Library system, is the largest public library in the world.
  9. Many people think that American factories are few and far between, but the world’s largest ice cream cone factory, owned by Keebler, is located at 10839 South Langley Avenue on Chicago’s south side, and the world’s largest cookie and cracker factory, Nabisco, is at 7300 South Kedzie Avenue, also on the south side.
  10. Chicago is the birthplace of the daytime soap opera. The first ever soap opera to air was “These Are My Children,” and it was broadcast directly from Chicago’s NBC affiliate.
  11. The Jardine Water Purification Plant, located just north of Navy Pier at 600 East Grand Avenue, is the largest water filtration plant in the world.
  12. Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world, with 8 million gallons of water and more than 100,000 aquatic animals, but Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is a close second, with 5 million gallons of water and upwards of 20,000 aquatic animals.
  13. In 1895, the first ever car race was run from Chicago all the way to the nearby suburb of Evanston.
  14. The University of Chicago took the bold move of cancelling its football program in 1939 because it worried that sports were corrupting the schools.
  15. Spray paint was first invented in 1949 in the city of Chicago.
  16. The Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards.
  17. The “hookless fastener” was invented in Chicago – though we know it better by the name of “zipper”.
  18. The first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Jane Addams, which was given to her as recognition of her work with Chicago’s immigrant population.
  19. The Taste of Chicago, held every summer, is the world’s largest outdoor food festival.

There you have it! 19 fun facts about the city of Chicago and its rich and varied history.