During the Gilded Age, many cities experienced a drastic lifestyle change. One of these cities was Chicago. Many critics and commentators sometime argue that Chicago is the “American” city that reflects the transformation of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. Proving to be true, Chicago, to this day, remains a city that reflects America’s progress.
During the nineteenth century, Chicago experienced extreme population growth, requiring infrastructure investments. Due to the economy’s growth, new immigrants from Europe flocked to Chicago. With this new population, the city needed to expand; thus, skyscrapers were built. Instead of building out, like most cities, Chicago built up.
With the creation of skyscrapers, it is not hard to tell that Chicago’s economy boomed during this time. New transportation was created, including the “Union Loop” and many new businesses settled down and flourished. In1856, Chicago became one of the first cities in the United States to have a comprehensive sewerage system. This made Chicago a much healthier city to live in and set Chicago on a whole other level than other metropolitan cities during this time.
Furthermore, Chicago wanted to improve public health in a bigger way. The city passed laws that upgraded standards for doctors. These laws set the stage for health reform and many other states began to pass similar laws. Also, the city invested in many large parks, which also included public sanitation facilities.
In the 19th century, Chicago became an important railroad center. In 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered the most influential world's fair in history. It was the first world's fair with amusements. It included carnival rides, locomotives, and a ferris wheel. Also, Chicago is referred to as the “White City.” Most of the buildings were based on classical architecture and the buildings were made of a white stucco. It was also called the White City because of the extensive use of street lights, which made the boulevards and buildings usable at night.
In conclusion, it is not hard to see that Chicago was a very bustling city. During the Gilded Age, many cities, including Chicago, experienced a drastic lifestyle change. So, it is easy for people to understand why so many critics and commentators argue that Chicago is the “American” city that reflects the transformation of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century.