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City of Big ShouldersA History of Chicago$
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Robert G. Spinney

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749599

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749599.001.0001

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Life in a City on the Make, 1850–1900

Life in a City on the Make, 1850–1900

(p.62) Chapter 5 Life in a City on the Make, 1850–1900
City of Big Shoulders

Robert G. Spinney

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores Chicago's remarkable economic growth that was accompanied by a meteoric increase in population. It explains how Chicago was home to 30,000 residents in 1850 and then rose to 1,700,000 in 1900, making Chicago the second largest city in the United States. It also describes how Chicagoans' lives consisted of more than marketing grain, selling lumber, processing meat, and filling catalog orders amidst critical economic growth. The chapter highlights how the residents in Chicago threw themselves into political battles as they shaped their rapidly growing city. It also mentions the Chicagoans' establishment of institutions ranging from water pumping stations to Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) buildings in order to meet their needs.

Keywords:   Chicago, economic growth, Chicagoans, political battles, Young Men's Christian Association, YMCA

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