Chicago and Springfield Illinois State History Programs

9 Interesting Facts About Chicago

Chicago is home to incredible architecture, a rich museum scene, and gobs of Midwestern history. Students who experience the Windy City can see it all. Here are nine interesting facts about this great American city. You could almost run a marathon along Lake Michigan! There is 26 miles of lakefront,... Read More

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain Park

The Buckingham Fountain is known as Chicago’s front door and is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The massive fountain with incredible water works is one of the largest in the world. Kate Buckingham dedicated the structure to the people of Chicago in 1927 in memory of her late brother,... Read More

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum — America’s First Planetarium — was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. The museum is home to three full-size theaters, extensive space science exhibitions, and one of the world’s most important antique astronomical instrument coll... Read More

Chicago Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Historians are unsure of what exactly caused the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but legend says that it was a cow. The blaze started in the barn of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, a poor Chicago family of seven. Mr. O’Leary worked as a laborer and Mrs. O’Leary sold milk from her cows.... Read More

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is the oldest free public zoo in the country. It began with the gift of a pair of swans from New York’s Central Park Commission.  In 1884, a North American bison was born at the park, likely the first of its kind to be born in captivity. During […] Read More

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest science museums in the world and home to more than 35,000 artifacts and nearly 14 acres of hands-on exhibits. Constructed for the World’s Columbian Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts opened in 1893. After falling into ruin it was converted ... Read More

Chicago Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Over 24 acres make up Millennium Park, an exciting and diverse public urban park. It includes Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the five-acre Lurie Garden. The area, which was covered with unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots, remained a blemish on Chicago’s lakefront t... Read More

Field Museum

The Field Museum

The Field Museum was incorporated in the state of Illinois on September 16, 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago. It was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. In 1905, the museum’s name was changed to Field Muse... Read More

Chicago Water Tower

Chicago Water Tower

The Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869. It was one of the few public buildings to withstand the flames of the Great Fire of 1871. The tower is situated at the center of the Magnificent Mile and its architecture contrasts sharply with nearby modern buildings like the John Hancock Center and Water ... Read More