Solution to December’s Puzzler


All of you who took a shot at last month’s Puzzler were on the right track. Nobody went for the obvious “winds off the Lake” choice. However, the winds that swirl over the flat land and Lake Michigan are persistent enough to lend credence to the wind theory. We are, though, only the 78th windiest city in the U.S.

But “windy” also means “talkative” and according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, our  politicians were well-known for their long-windedness.  The City’s boosterism and self-promotion in the late 19th century established Chicago’s reputation to this day.

There was another reason, however. And that was New York City. A review of the Chicago Sun-Times Metro Almanac reveals that Chicago and New York were vying to be the site of 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the competition became very intense. The Almanac reports that one Chicago newspaper said, “New York shouldn’t get the fair because it’s the ‘meanest city in America.’ ” The Almanac went on to add, “For its part, New York mostly treated Chicago like lint.”

At that time, Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, called Chicagoans self-promoting blowhards and told New Yorkers to “pay no attention to the nonsensical claims of that windy city. Its people could not hold a fair, even if they won it.”

Of course, Chicago did win it, and what’s more, presented one of the greatest World’s Fairs ever.

1893 World's Fair


About Chicago Stories

I'm a Chicagoan, have been for fifty years. I've had a consulting business in the city for thirty-eight years, working with many Chicago companies and organizations and others around the world. Before that, I worked the city's race relations agency for five years.I am a volunteer tour guide for Chicago's Greeter Program and introduce visitors from around the world to this beautiful city. I'm also a writer of several professional books as well as poetry, essays and fiction. The city has become my inspiration, education and entertainment. View all posts by Chicago Stories

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