Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900, less than 30 years after the great fire, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Carl Sandburg's most famous description of the city is as "Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/ Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/ Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders."
Pete Muldoon was a Canadian ice hockey pioneer in the western United States, particularly known for bringing a Stanley Cup championship to Seattle. He is known best for reportedly putting a curse on the Chicago Blackhawks, as well as team owner Major Frederic McLaughlin, after Muldoon was fired at the end of the 1927 season; however, it has been alleged that a Toronto sportswriter had come up with the "curse" due to a bout of writer's block in 1943. Muldoon was the Blackhawk's first head coach.