Sue, the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton, was discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota in 1990. Sue is 42 feet long and probably weighed 6.4 tons when alive. After a dispute over ownership was solved, she was sold to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. Children could learn more at the Museum’s website at: Sue.
Great Chicago Fire of 1871 burned for thirty hours. Legend states Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern and started a fire in her barn. Almost one hundred thousand people lost their homes, and over 200 people died. Children could learn more at: Chicago Fire.
Peshtigo Forest Fire also started in 1871. Experts believe this to be one of the most damaging forest fires ever. The fire began in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and spread across six counties. More than 1,100 people died. Children could learn more at: Peshtigo Forest Fire.
First automobile race in the United States took place in 1895. This is an interesting story. Cars had been invented only two year earlier. The Chicago Times-Herald wanted to promote cars and boost newspaper circulation, so the newspaper sponsored the race. Approximately 83 cars were entered, but only six cars participated in the 54-mile race from Chicago to Evanston and back. The cars and drivers had to battle cold weather, snow, and local laws to finish. The winner, Charles Duryea in his motorized wagon, averaged seven miles per hour. He won $5000 (over $100,000 in today’s money). Children could learn more at: First Automobile Race.
Illinois became the twenty-first state of the United States in 1818. Its name derives from the word iliniwek, meaning tribe of the superior men. The state’s nickname is the Prairie State. While Springfield is the state capital, Chicago is a very large transportation center for rail, air and water. Springfield was the site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. Illinois still grows large amounts of corn and soybeans, but it also has deposits of coal and gas. The monarch butterfly is the state insect. Children could visit an Internet site at: Illinois. Monarch butterflies make annual migrations to winter in trees in Mexico, California and Florida. Children could find out more about the monarch butterfly and its migration patterns.
League of Women Voters was organized in 1920. Carrie Chapman Catt founded the group in Chicago, Illinois, and the purpose is to promote nonpartisan political action. All fifty states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico have chapters. Children can visit the website at: http://www.lwv.org/.
Chicago began constructing the first skyscraper in 1884. It rose to a height of ten stories! The Home Insurance Company of New York owned the steel-framed building. It was finished by the fall of 1885, but two more floors were added at a later date. It was razed in 1931 so that another building could be built.
Empire State Building was dedicated in 1931. For quite a long time it was the tallest building in the world. However, other buildings are now taller than it. Children can learn more at: Empire State Building.
Adler Planetarium, the first United States planetarium, opened in Chicago in 1930. The planetarium is still as active as ever! Children can learn more at: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/
Ellen Church became the first woman flight attendant in 1930. The United Airlines employee flew from San Francisco, California, to Chicago, Illinois. The 20-hour flight stopped at numerous cities. Female flight attendants soon became more common, but they often had to help pilots, process luggage, or push airplanes into hangars. Children could read a GREAT article about Church and early Sky girls at: Ellen Church.