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lumberyards—was also spared because
it was located beyond the circle of fire
on the southern periphery of the city.
By 1873 the city's downtown business
and financial district was up and run-
ning again, and 2 decades later Chicago
had sufficiently recovered to host the
1893 World's Columbian Exposition
commemorating the 400th anniversary
of the discovery of America.
The Great Fire gave an unprece-
dented boost to the professional and
artistic development of the nation's
architects—drawn by the unlimited
opportunities to build, they gravitated
to the city in droves. And the city
raised its own homegrown crop of
architects. Chicago's deserved reputa-
tion as an American Athens, packed
1999 Michael Jordan, arguably the
best basketball player ever, retires (for
the second time) after leading the
Chicago Bulls to six NBA Champi-
onships in the previous 8 years.
2000 The Goodman Theatre opens its
new $46 million theater complex in
the Loop, completing the revitaliza-
tion of a downtown theater district.
2001 Chicago's second airport, Midway,
opens a new $800 million terminal,
attracting new airlines and giving travel-
ers more options for Chicago flights.
2004 Millennium Park, Chicago's
largest public works project in
decades, opens at the north end of
Grant Park. The centerpiece of the
development is a modern, steel-
sheathed band shell designed by famed
architect Frank Gehry.
with monumental and decorative buildings, is a direct by-product of the disas-
trous fire that nearly brought the city to ruin.
In the meantime, Chicago's population continued to grow as many immi-
grants forsook the uncultivated farmland of the prairie to join the city's labor
pool. Chicago still shipped meat and agricultural commodities around the
nation and the world, but the city itself was rapidly becoming a mighty indus-
trial center in its own right, creating finished goods, particularly for the markets
of the ever-expanding western settlements.
Chicago never seemed to outgrow its frontier rawness. Greed, profiteering,
exploitation, and corruption were as critical to its growth as hard work, ingenu-
ity, and civic pride. The spirit of reform arose most powerfully from the ranks
of the working classes, whose lives were plagued by poverty and disease, despite
the city's prosperity. When the sleeping giant of labor finally awakened in
Chicago, it did so with a militancy and commitment that were to inspire the
union movement throughout the nation.
By the 1890s, many of Chicago's workers were already organized into the Amer-
ican Federation of Labor. The Pullman Strike of 1894 united black and white rail-
way workers for the first time in a common struggle for higher wages and
workplace rights. The Industrial Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies, which
embraced for a time so many great voices of American labor—Eugene V. Debs,
Big Bill Haywood, and Helen Gurley Flynn—was founded in Chicago in 1905.
The major change in Chicago in the 20th century, however, stemmed from the
enormous growth of the city's African-American population. Coincident with
the beginning of World War I, Chicago became the destination for thousands of
blacks leaving Mississippi and other parts of the Deep South. Most settled on
the South Side. With the exception of Hyde Park, which absorbed the black
population into a successfully integrated, middle-class neighborhood, Chicago
gained a reputation over the decades as the most segregated city in the United
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