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Chicago: City of the Century | Quiz

Do You Know Chicago?


So you've been to the Windy City. Looked around. Seen a TV program about the place. Or you've read a history book. But do you really know Chicago? Test your mettle with this trivia challenge!

1.The name “Chicago” comes from the Native American name “Chicagoua,” meaning:
a. Chicken farmer
b. A place of high winds
c. Chilly water
d. The place of the wild onion

2. Who built the first grain reaper, dubbed “the mechanical man”?
a. Benjamin Franklin
b. Eli Whitney
c. Thomas Edison
d. Cyrus McCormick

3. In the years before Lake Michigan was well-filtered, what did some unlucky Chicagoans find in their tap water?
a. Minnows
b. Arsenic
c. Gasoline
d. Pieces of rubber

4. In what year did a fire destroy the city?
b. 1871
c. 1876
d. 1929

5. After the fire, who donated books to the people of Chicago?
a. The people of Japan
b. Andrew Carnegie
c. Queen Victoria
d. Ulysses Grant

6. Which of the following products were NOT made from leftover animal parts in Chicago slaughterhouses?
a. Tennis racquet strings
b. Paintbrushes
c. Beer pails
d. Soap

7. By the late 19th century, trains no longer ran through Chicago to other destinations. They all stopped at:
a. The Loop
b. The Levee
c. Lake Michigan
d. Packingtown

8. What was Mickey Finn, a bartender in the Levee district, known for?
a. His signature whisky sours
b. Pouring four drinks at once
c. Slipping knockout drops into patrons’ drinks, then robbing them
d. His deep tenor singing voice

9. Jane Addam’s settlement house in the Near West Side was called:
a. Hillel house
b. Hull-House
c. The White House
d. The Addams Mansion

10. Which of the following could Chicagoans NOT so in a 19th-century saloon?
a. Deposit valuables in a safe
b. Get a haircut
c. Receive mail
d. Spit

11. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was held to commemorate:
a. The closing of the American Frontier
b. The ratification of the constitution
c. The founding of the District of Columbia
d. Columbus’s voyage to America

12. What as the occupation of George Ferris, inventor of the first Ferris wheel?
a. Hotdog vendor
b. Amusement park owner
c. Bridge designer
d. Steelworker

13. Which Native American people were driven from Chicago area after 1830?
a. Navajo
b. Cherokee
c. Potawatomi
d. Wamponoag

14. Why did Boston sanitary engineer Ellis Chesbrough come to Chicago in 1855?
a. To clean up Chicago slaughterhouses
b. To build sewers above the swamp Chicago terrain
c. To assess the quality of Lake Michigan’s water
d. To reduce the amount of grain rot in elevators

15. Chicago’s pork-packing industry surpassed that of which city by 1862?
a. New York City
b. Cincinnati, Ohio
c. Vicksburg, Mississippi
d. Richmond, Virginia

16. Before the Civil War, a small number of black Americans settled in which Chicago area formerly occupied by German immigrants?a. Pilsen
b. South Side
c. Edgewater
d. North Side

17. How did Chicago’s downtown Loop originate?
a. Builder Charles Yarkley placed a trolley stops only near businesses that paid him bribes
b. Chicago’s main businesses happened to be arranged in a rough loop
c. Chicago’s politicians could not agree on which neighborhood to run the system to first
d. Marshall Field ran cable cars in a loop from points around the city to his store

18. How did young Marshall Field save money to start his retail business?
a. He slept at work to avoid paying rent
b. He ate only one meal a day
c. He systematically stole from his employer
d. He made good investments in real estate

19. Which of the following is NOT true about Socialist Albert Parsons?
a. He worked as a typesetter
b. He grew up in Germany
c. His ancestors arrived on the Mayflower
d. He fought for the Confederacy

20. How many police officers were killed at Haymarket Square in the 19th century’s most sensational labor incident?
a. One
b. Three
c. Five
d. Seven

21. Alderman Johnny powers won votes by all but which one of these methods?
a. Giving away six tons of Christmas turkeys
b. Making impassioned speeches on behalf of the poor
c. Attending six or seven funerals a night
d. Getting people out of jail

22. In 1889, this new Chicago landmark was the largest building in the world.
a. The Auditorium
b. Fort Dearborn
c. The Sears Tower
d. The Water Tower

23. Which democratic innovation did architect Louis Sullivan introduce into the Auditorium’s design?
a. There were no luxury boxes
b. All seats were the same distance from the stage
c. Each seat had a cup holder
d. Individual seats were replaced with benches

24. Socialist firebrand Florence Kelley did NOT achieve which of these reforms in 1893?
a. The eight-hour workday
b. A ban on child labor
c. The half-hour lunch break
d. Regular inspections of factories


1. D   9. B   17. D
2. D 10. B  18. A
3. A  11. D 19. B
4. B  12. C  20. D
5. C  13. C  21. B
6. C  14. B  22. A
7. A  15. B  23. A
8. C  16. D  24. C


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