Thursday, November 3, 2011

The American City: Chicago

Chicago can definitely be under the realm of the “American” city as it has all the aspects of one. Chicago was a city under transformation and the city itself helped propel America into an age of industrial achievement. The age here was led with technological advances that helped propel both America economically, but also Chicago from the ashes of the Great Fire.

From the ashes arose a new method and term for the building that originated in the city of Chicago, the “skyscraper.” This new form of architecture was seen and is still seen as a truly American creation. The skyscraper symbolized America’s newfound wealth and changed the very aspect of what the definition of a modern day city was. For Chicago like New York was expanding both horizontal and vertically to accommodate the new influx of people from the surrounding rural areas as well as newly arriving immigrants.

With the Worlds Fair being held in Chicago in 1893 Chicago came into being as a truly world city. Though this fair highlighted America’s technological prowess, the city itself beckoned with corruption and other societal problems from the labeling of other races and cultures around the world as inferior at the World’s Exposition to the horrors of the meatpacking stockyards, Chicago was itself a portrait of America’s problems as well.

In summation the rapid transformation of Chicago to the industrial powerhouse it would soon become was in large part a reflection of the rest of American and only making it more clear Chicago was a true “American” city.

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