WATCH: Celebrating 185 years of Chicago

Navy Pier right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. (Amber Cooper/MEDILL)

By Amber Cooper 

Medill Reports 

This year marks 185 years since Chicago officially became a city, a city filled with endless culture and history. A group of Chicagoans expressed their love and admiration for the place they call home.

Video Transcript:

Amber Cooper: Chi-Town, the Windy City, City of Big Shoulders, the city that works. Chicago is a cultural giant that brought you the Ferris wheel, deep-dish pizza and the evolution of jazz. But you want to know what really makes Chicago special? Let’s go and find out. 

Introduction (various speakers): The thing about the culture of Chicago. Chicago is a great city. The history of Chicago is important. Chicago is a very busy city. Chicago gave jazz its name. Chicago is so full of diversity. There’s so much richness in Chicago. 

Shermann Dilla Thomas: Chicago is what I consider America’s first baby. And so because of that, so much innovation and thought comes from here because typically you spoil your first baby, right? And so, we were so well-resourced in our beginning that, again, we are responsible for a lot of what America is cool about. 

Shanna Williams: I’m talking about the energy of Chicago. Chicago has some amazing energy. You come here, you get excited. I believe that we are our own. We’re just our own people. I feel like when Chicago goes out, people try to model after Chicago.

Vashon Jordan: The fact that we’re just such a large, beautiful, vibrant city with so much to offer. You can put — Chicago we were voted the second most beautiful city in the world. And these are awards that are coming from people that are objectively looking at the city, looking at other places and seeing that, but where is someplace where you can come and you’re gonna feel at home right away? One of the best parts about Chicago is you can’t tell if someone’s from Chicago or not, because as soon as you come, you get this love and this spirit for the city that I can’t even tell. It’s not a place where it’s like, you only love the city if you’re born in this city. You’re someone who loves it regardless just from being in it and feeling that spirit. 

Jay Simon: What sets Chicago apart is it’s always on the cutting edge. You know, just our style, you know our uniqueness, how we carry ourselves, you know, and just always like raising the bar. 

Cassandra Powell: How many cities have a place for LGBTQ identifying adults, youth, people in general, and anybody that wants to go there that feels safe and comfortable, where people can go and be in their own skin? So Chicago has a plethora of different cultures and identities, and you just have to get around. 

Michelle Keim: Chicago is so full of diversity in so many ways. Like diversity of culture, diversity of experience, people who come from all different places to be here. People have all these different things to add. And I think that the diversity of voices in the city gives it this really cool culture that doesn’t get like you can’t go too far in one direction before somebody pushes back. And I love that. 

Shanna Williams: There’s so much richness in Chicago. Chicago is home of R&B artists. Chicago is home of Motown artists. Chicago is the home of hip-hop artists. Chicago has I mean the greatest skyline that ever was. We have some of the greatest people. We’re the most diverse city there is. 

Shermann Dilla Thomas: The culture of Chicago kind of permeates itself to the history and culture of America. So if you care about any of the kind of cultural connections or cultural phenomenons that kind of make America what it is, by and large for the most part, a lot of those innovations have a Chicago connection to them. 

Michelle Keim: I mean, I think for the same reason you should care about the history and culture of anything, right? Like everything that exists is like an accumulation of all of the things that have happened within it. So to be a part of Chicago today is to be like the recipient in a way of all of the things that have happened in the past. So knowing all of Chicago’s history and all of Chicago’s culture makes you an active participant where you are. 

Amber Cooper: You heard it from the people yourself. Chicago is that city. A mix of everything you can imagine. So thank you, Chicago, for 185 years of greatness. 

Amber Cooper is a video and broadcast graduate student at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter @AmbsBCooper