25 Vintage Photos of Chicago

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Chicago invented the skyscraper, has hosted two World's Fairs, and boasts its own kind of formidable pizza. Despite being one of the most populous cities in the country, it hasn't all been clear skies and Green River soda. Chicago survived one of the largest fires of the 19th century, organized crime, and a corrupt baseball team. Check out these pictures to see a glimpse of Chicago's transformation into the lively metropolis we know today.

The Great Chicago Fire

1871: A young paperboy holds a sheet with the details of the Great Chicago Fire.

1871: Two young boys sit amongst the rubble after the fire. You can see portions of the Court House still standing behind them.

Library of Congress

1871: The remains of the Bigelow House. The house was fully furnished and scheduled to open that month.

Baseball

1919: Pitcher Dickie Kerr stands in his White Sox home uniform. Kerr was part of the team known as the "Black Sox," infamous for throwing the 1919 World Series, but he was not part of the scheme.

1924: A police officer inspects a baseball bat of one of the players at a game between the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox.

1924: Couples from the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox pose for a picture on a ship. The four couples left to right are: Mr. and Mrs. Huntzinger, Mr. and Mrs. Stengel, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, and Mr. and Mrs. Young.

1925: Babe Ruth slides to first base at Comiskey Park.

1932: Alex Metzler of the White Sox is photographed mid-air on his way to home plate while the Yankees' Pat Collins waits for the ball.

World's Columbian Exposition

Library of Congress

1893: The Ferris Wheel at Chicago's first World's Fair. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. invented the wheel with the intention of topping Paris' Eiffel Tower at the 1889 fair. The Ferris Wheel was a huge success and helped save the fair from deficit. It cost 50 cents to ride — twice as much as a ticket to the fair itself.

1892: Fair goers move through the Midway Plaisance to get to the World's Fair Grounds. Some adventurous individuals climb a pole to get away from the crowds.

1933: The 'Royal Scot' steam train that was exhibited at the World's Fair. It was taken apart and shipped across the sea. See the video of the process here.

1933: The east entrance to the Manufacturer's Building, the largest structure at the fair. Inside, patrons could see exhibits and artifacts from all over the world. The United States section boasted a gold column with a glass globe and golden eagle courtesy of the Tiffany Company.

1934: A view of the The Travel and Transport Pavilion in Chicago.

Politics and Activism

1908: The crowded floor of the Republican National Convention. William Howard Taft was nominated for president.

1922: Women in Chicago are dragged into a police truck for failing to wear the required leg coverings to the beach. The early 1900s had very strict laws regarding swimwear and officials went as far as measuring the length of swimsuits on the beach. Laws were not just for women — men were required to wear shirts in some areas until the late 1930s.

Transportation

1905: Toot toot! A small boat pulls a bigger boat down the Chicago River.

1926: A trolley car derailed and hung over a bridge just outside of Chicago. None of the passengers were seriously hurt.

1933: A man walks along the Chicago River with the help of nifty inflatable shoes and a paddle.

People of Chicago

1935: Tom Tom of Chicago weighed a total of 745 lbs and was believed to be the heaviest man in the world. Today, the record stands at 1,230 lbs by the late Manuel Uribe.

1931: Al Capone signs a $50,000 bail bond in the Federal Building of Chicago.

1930: Three elderly women get their dance on during the Old Settlers Picnic.

1940: Albert Einstein and Arthur Compton sit together at the University of Chicago.

Places

1925: North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

1935: View of the Chicago River.

1930: Rows of hogs are hung and ready to be processed in a Chicago meat packing plant.

All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise stated.

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July 24, 2014 - 6:00pm
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