Chicago is known as the Windy City, but during the week I visited, the place could have used a bit more wind.
I attended my nursing reunion here from September 21 to 27. We happened to show up during a heat wave with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit). On my last day, the temperature dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit to a very pleasant 70.
Another nickname for Chicago is “Chi-Town” pronounced Shy Town. And still another nickname is “Second City”.
I always thought that meant it was second to New York City, but apparently that is not so. Our tour guides told us that Second City refers to how the city was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1871.
Legend says that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow knocked over a lantern which set fire to the barn, and from there, the fire spread. Some of our tour guides dismissed this legend, saying that back in the day there was a tendency to blame the Irish for anything that went wrong, and that more likely, the fire began as a lightning strike. At any rate, the fire spread and burned for three days. Rain finally put it out.
Following the fire, legislation decreed that buildings not be built of wood. The materials that could be used were brick, stone, marble and limestone. And thus began the era of the skyscrapers.
Our group stayed at the Embassy Suites near Navy Pier. Here is our crest on their Welcome Screen. The hotel gave us a hospitality room. Here is the signage. Our school is called HADSON, and the hotel almost got it right, calling us HUDSON. Pretty close.
One of the nurses made a cap, which does resemble our original nursing cap. As far as I know, nurses don’t wear caps these days.
We did “hop on hop off” bus tours, and boat cruises of the harbor. We ate hotdogs and deep dish pizza. And at Maggiano’s, we had some of the best chocolate cake in the world.
At Giordano’s, we tried the deep dish pizza.
On Saturday, twenty-two HADSON nurses boarded the boat for the Chicago Harbor Cruise. As we floated along the Chicago River, we passed this building which curves with the river. In 1887, the flow of the Chicago River was reversed. Instead of flowing into Lake Michigan and discharging sewage into the great freshwater lake, the River took in fresh water from Lake Michigan and discharged its sewage into the Mississippi River watershed. Here are the locks that allow that to happen.
I like tall buildings. I have climbed the Calgary Tower twice (it’s only 802 stairs) and I have taken the elevator to the top of Toronto’s CN Tower. So I had to visit the two tallest buildings in Chicago. First the John Hancock Building.
At one point, the John Hancock Building was the second tallest building in the world. Now it is the eighth-tallest in the USA.
This is Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, and formerly the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. I think it is now the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere. At any rate, I like being up high and here is the view.
There was so much to see that I know I will have to make another trip to the Windy City.
And of course we reminisced, as we walked through Millennium Park, cruised the Magnificent Mile and ate Chicago’s version of poutine at the welcoming Timothy O’Toole’s Pub.
Thanks to all my classmates for a great visit. See you all in three years!