"Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Old Mother Leary left a lantern in the shed,
And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,
'There'll be a HOT time on the old town tonight.'"
-from a popular children’s song

The legend of the much-maligned Mrs. O’Leary and the start of The Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 8, 1871 is so widespread that many people take the unsubstantiated rumor as fact. It’s not surprising that the subject of the devastating blaze and fire-fighting made its way onto many vintage postcards.

Fortunately, Chicago was able to rebuild itself in time to host the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, beating out New York City, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. The event honored the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ landing in America. Forty years later, the city put on the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, focusing on scientific achievements, like the development of electric power.

Chicago is also home to major sports teams, including two major-league baseball teams, the White Sox and the Cubs. Their famous ballparks Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field were erected in 1910 and 1914, respectively.

The manufacturing and transportation hub of the U.S. for over a century, Chicago is full of iconic places and storied characters like 21-year Mayor Richard Joseph Daley and Prohibition-era mob boss Al Capone. The 110-story Sears Tower, built in 1974 and now known as the Willis Tower, was once the tallest building in the world—it remains the tallest building in the United States.

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