Chicago, in its first century, grew at a very fast rate. However, the Great Fire of 1871 almost flattened out most of the city which later rose from the ashes. The city’s population grew from about 30,000 to 1 million in the year 1890 making it the fifth largest city in the world. The 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition, commemorating the discovery of America by Columbus 400 years ago, attracted 26 million visitors, making Chicago even more famous. Fifty years later, the population in Chicago tripled. During its first century as a city, Chicago grew at a rate that ranked among the fastest growing in the world.
Chicago is a well planned city. The foundation of today’s Chicago was laid by some of the leading architects of the day. In 1909, the Chicago Plan, a great visionary urban plan was designed by Daniel Burnham. It included wide boulevards and parks. The end of the 19th century saw a dramatic increase in land prices resulting in the construction of high-rise buildings. In 1885, William le Baron Jenny built the Home Insurance Building, which at 55 meters and 9 stories was slated as the world’s first skyscraper. This set the mode for future buildings making Chicago a pioneering architectural city.