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Key Issues

  • Early skyscrapers and other 19th-century architecture
  • Important events like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the World’s Fairs of 1893 and 1933-1934
  • Historic photos and perspectives on Chicago

About This Topic

Chicago has so many amazing stories to tell.

Some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers were built here. Two World’s Fairs brought millions to the prairie to see inventions ranging from the Ferris Wheel to chocolate brownies. Great architects like Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and Frank Lloyd Wright called Chicago home.

In this section of our website, we’re collecting these stories and sharing new perspectives on the past.

Latest Updates on Historic Chicago


From CAF

What happened to the Santa Fe sign?


For years, a Santa Fe sign was perched atop the Railway Exchange Building on Michigan Avenue. What happened to those big white letters?

From CAF

Celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday


Frank Lloyd Wright is perhaps the most famous American architect of all time, and 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of his birth on June 8, 1867. Here’s a look at how CAF is celebrating this occasion and how you can too!

From CAF

Chicago’s Movable Bridges


Chicago is not just home to many of the world’s earliest skyscrapers—it’s also a city of bridges. How and why did Chicago become home to more movable bridges than any other city in the world?