Friday, March 04, 2011

Happy birthday, Chicago!

The trivia widget to the left says that the city of Chicago was founded on this day in 1837. So, here are some quotes and a video I made some time back. Click through to YouTube for the non-chopped-off-at-the-right-side version. Enjoy!

This is a great uninteresting place.
-- Matthew Arnold, letter to Miss Arnold, 23 January 1884

I like it in spite of lake-wind sharpness and prairie
flatness, damp tunnels, swinging bridges, hard water, and easy
divorces...A lady from the East lately said of it, very charmingly,
"It is New York with the heart left in.'
-- Grace Greenwood, _New Life in New Lands_, 1873

Nelson Algren says living there is like being married to a
woman with a broken nose: there may be lovelier lovelies, but never a
lovely so real.
-- Stephen Fay, _Sunday Times_, 13 January 1980

Satan: (impatiently), to new-comer: The trouble with you
Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here;
whereas you are merely the most numerous.
-- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar", in _More
Tramps Abroad_, 1897

Chicago is as full of crooks as a saw with teeth.
-- John Gunther, _Inside U.S.A._, 1947

Chicago is Olympian freak, a fable, an
allegory, an incomprehensible phenomenon...monstrous, multifarous,
unnatural, indomitable, puissant, preposterous, transcendent...throw
the dictionary at it!
-- Julian Street, _Abroad at Home_, 1914

So it goes on mile after mile--Chicago...It was like a
prolonged, enlarded mingling of the south side of London with all that
is bleak and ugly in the Black Country. It is the most perfect
presentation of nineteenth century individualistic industrialism I
have ever seen--in its vast, its magnificent squalor; it is pure
nineteenth century; it had no past at all before that; in 1800 it was
empty prairie, and one marvels for its future.
-- H. G. Wells, _The Future in America_, 1906