Longest Street: Western Avenue/2400W
At 24.5 miles and extending from the northern border of Chicago and Evanston, all the way south to County Line Road in the south suburbs. This street used to be the western edge of the city limits until 1869. Also notable for having the most car dealerships, Riverview amusement Park (until 1967), being the most dangerous for cyclists due to lack of bike lanes, and Rosehill Cemetery (see Largest and Oldest).
Tallest Building: Willis (Sears) Towers
Everybody knows this one, right? The Sears retail giant made its headquarters here from 1974 and held the naming rights to the building until 2003. It continued to be called the Sears Tower until 2009 when the Willis Insurance company bought the rights and renamed it.
Largest and Oldest Cemetery: Rosehill Cemetery
Largest at 350 acres and oldest dating from 1859. Also has the largest public mausoleum in Chicago. Notable ‘residents’ include: Oscar Mayer, Montgomery Ward, and Richard Sears (yes THAT Sears).
Highest Residences: John Hancock Building
Of the 95 total floors, the top 49 are condo-only. Talk about living in the clouds!
Shortest Street: McDermott Street
Shortest is defined is ¼ of a city block or less. This one is located in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and has only 8 addresses. Created when the Stevenson Expressway was constructed. There are 16 streets in Chicago that are less than ¼ of a city block!
Oldest Church: First United Methodist
Established in 1831 – 6 years before Chicago was incorporated as a city. Has been at its present location – in the heart of the Loop – since 1838.
Oldest Museum: Depends on Type!
Chicago has a LOT of museums, dedicated to almost everything you can imagine. Following are some of the most popular and my personal faves.
Science: Museum of Science and Industry, located in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
Astronomy: Adler Planetarium (first in the Western Hemisphere), located in the South Loop neighborhood’s museum campus.
Aquarium: Shedd Aquarium located in the South Loop’s museum campus. Has the longest living fish at any aquarium in the world. He is an Australian lung-fish nicknamed “Grand Dad” and he’s been a resident of the Shedd since he was brought here in 1933.
Largest Park: Lincoln Park
This vast area on the Lakefront consists of 1,208 acres and includes: 15 baseball areas, 6 basketball courts, softball fields, soccer fields, 35 tennis courts, 163 volley ball courts, field houses, a driving range and golf course, several boat harbors, public beaches, landscaped gardens, bird refuges, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and a theater on the lake with regular outdoor performances during the summer. Yes, I think the neighborhood grew up around this huge park, which was the city’s cemetery until 1864. The Couch family still has a mausoleum there. They refused to have it moved. So there it sits to this day, just off North Avenue.
Oldest Zoo: Lincoln Park Zoo
It’s the oldest in Chicago, and one of the oldest in the country. AND it’s still one of the few FREE zoos in this country! Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, established in 1884 with just one little bear cub, this zoo continues to be a local favorite and a top tourist destination. Still one of my top faves to spend a day!
Stay tuned for more in this series!