Windy City

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Windy City, the second name for Chicago.

How did the name Windy City come about?

Yes, sometimes it’s windy in Chicago. The wind usually comes from the west with regular storm systems rolling through the Midwest. Chicago is no more windy than Kansas City.

So, why Windy City?

The urban legend says it’s not the weather, it’s politicians. They say that back in 19th century Chicago was the city full of windbags, windy speakers who were full of wind. But any city has that kind of politicians, nothing special here about Chicago.

I prefer another, more pleasant explanation. Back in 1870s Chicago advertised itself as “a summer resort, on the strength of the lake breezes which so nicely tempered the mid-summer heats.”

Chicago Tribune proudly wrote on June 14, 1876 that "the people of this city are enjoying cool breezes, refreshing rains, green fields, a grateful sun, and balmy air - winds from the north and east tempered by the coolness of the lake, and from the south and west, bearing to us frequent hints of the grass, flowers, wheat and corn of the prairies."

In other words Windy City nickname is nothing more than an advertisement for tourists to visit Chicago in summer. And I would agree with that. Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago are quite nice in the heat of summer.

Urban myths are capricious creatures. Do you know how New York became the Big Apple? It’s a story which started on a horse race track in New Orleans in Louisiana. Maybe I’ll tell it next time.