By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (August 12, 2022) – In Issue 2022-142 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, celebrating Chi-town on the anniversary of its becoming a town.


Chicago was incorporated as a town on this date in 1833 and quickly gained city status a short 3 1/2 years later. 

The town that began with about 200 people was a prime destination, serving as both a port and railroad hub to the emerging western areas of the US.  In fact, for several decades in the 1800s, Chicago was the world’s fastest-growing city.

The name “Chicago” derives from the Native American word, shikaakwa, a wild garlic-like onion that grew in great abundance in the area.  The Frenchified word, Checagou, was the first written appearance of the name. (Do you know why the city situated on the shore of Lake Michigan is called The Windy City?  You may be surprised by the answer.)

Some unique Chicago facts – invention of spray paint, creation of the Twinkie, first all-color television station, world’s first skyscraper, only river in the world that flows backward, beginning of the Atomic Age with the splitting of the atom at the University of Chicago.

This 1913 Rand McNally Map of the railroads shows the import of this mode of transportation of the Windy City.

Chicago Railway map – Circa 1913 (Credit Steve Kovacs)


Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.

NOTE: Answer to Windy City question:  NO, it is not because of the winds blowing in off Lake Michigan, the nickname Windy City comes from a more notorious part of Chicago history. It came from all the boasting of Chicago politicians which tended to be ‘big bags of wind” speaking less than truthfully, thus, The Windy City. So, what has changed?