The Shocking Reason Why Chicago is Nicknamed the Windy City!

I have only been in Chicago a few times, so I may not know everything that there is about the grand city of Chicago.  However, you do not have to be a Chicago-trivial-expert to know that Chicago is often times called, “The Windy City”.  For years, I have not thought much about the interesting nickname.  I thought, for a split-second, that Chicago was called the Windy City, because there is a lot of wind!  It was a natural thought, both literally and figuratively.  Every time I think of Chicago, I think of people walking down busy streets, with wind blowing their hair across their faces, never letting go of their subway sandwiches…the nickname, Windy City, seems to make sense by that logic alone.  However, Chicago received its nickname not because of its environment, but because of reporters insults.

That’s right…insults from various newspapers and magazines is what caused Chicago to receive its nickname.

Back in the 1800’s, a journalist who wrote for the Chicago Daily Tribune wrote that the city had been overrun with milita officers who aired out their vanity in this Windy City. Other various reporters insulted the city, as being full of “Windbags”, which means people with over inflated egos.

The insults became even more popular, when in the 1890’s, the World Fair was trying to find a location, and Chicago was one of the cities that they had an eye on.  Other cities wanted to hold the World Fair, and did not want Chicago to get elected, so reporters started insulting Chicago as having residents full of “hot air”.  That term, along with “Windbags” made people start calling Chicago as the “Windy City”, in hopes that the World Fair would not choose Chicago.  Charles Dana, a New York Editor, popularized the term “Windy City” in The Sun during the World’s Fair bidding process in 1893.

Lets just say, it did not work.  Chicago hosted the World Fair.

So ever since, people have been calling Chicago, the Windy City.  I wonder how many people realize that the term was invented as an insult?  Well, if you knew before this post, then good for you!  If you didn’t know (like me), well now you know!  So now you can tell others about this interesting fact, or even share this article!  I wouldn’t complain…

Until next time, this has been The Thinking Hound, and remember to do WLYF!

10 thoughts on “The Shocking Reason Why Chicago is Nicknamed the Windy City!

Add yours

  1. As a Chicagoan, we hear about this all the time. I think most people think it’s about the actual wind. Even growing up and living here my whole life, people think it’s regarding the weather. The smart Chicagoans eventually learn it’s about the 1800s windbag story that you so excellently shared. However, another belief is that we call it the “Windy City” because of the extreme gang violence from Al Capone’s heyday.

    PS I absolutely loved your hidden reference to Jussie Smollett’s ridiculous story in which he was viciously attacked yet somehow held onto his Subway sandwich despite being tied up with a noose while having bleach poured over him. Good thing he held that sandwich! 😉


    Liked by 2 people

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