The City That Isn't One Word

1212 words - 5 pages

Every city has been faced with its own hardships, periods of prosper and change, but no city has the same story. As time progresses a city adopts characteristics that are unique and personalized and cannot be replicated by other cities. Eventually this development brings a form life to the city. However, this life could not survive without a strong spirit coursing through the streets to uphold it. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word “spirit” can be defined as “the quality of courage, energy, and determination or assertiveness.” While it is a short definition it captures the essence of Chicago perfectly. Chicago is a city that has dealt with disaster, greed, ugliness, ...view middle of the document...

Infused with a can-do spirit after the fire Chicago saw change spreading through the streets. Poverty, crime and muck were still common, but new prospering qualities started to emerge. Fresh job opportunities were arising, bringing in workers from all over the country who saw potential. Chicago was growing and so was its recognition as a city. Finally surpassing Philadelphia, Chicago gained the status of the “second most populous city after New York” and was seen a flourishing metropolis (Larson 13). With this new prestige came booming prosperity for Chicago. A once appalling city now was “the nation’s leader in commerce, manufacturing, and architecture” (Larson 16). Every corner of the city life began to develop. Chicago started to shed its youth by claiming success in new forms of urban literature, new inventions and most significantly architecture (Gustaitis 1). Due to this introduction as a thriving city, Chicago became determined to gain recognition as a global metropolitan and dismiss any negative perceptions associated with the city. Realizing the city’s potential the people of Chicago propelled forward with losing sight ugly streets of the city and instead engulfing them with prosperity.
While Chicago was pulsating with energy, the city began to illuminate new characteristics as result. A sense of strength and power could be seen throughout the city, but primarily in the architecture. Proving the city’s potential for success, Chicago reinvented itself. Buildings never thought possible were flying up in every direction. While skyscrapers were no new concept, Chicago changed the way they would be viewed for years to come. For Chicago “the skyscraper was a symbol of a new form of capitalism” (Miller 321). The city had such a strong will to become a booming global metropolitan any opportunity the city had to strengthen its power as a bureaucratic city was acted upon. Buildings were designed specifically to hold businesses. While most cities relied on the architecture’s beauty to show success, Chicago focused on function and practicality. Famous Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan believed “the building throughout is to be use and not for ornament. Its beauty will be in its all-adaption to its use” (Miller 323). The buildings of Chicago may not have been thought to be ascetically pleasing, but there was a power and strength in what the building represented. Chicago’s architecture is the blueprint of the city’s spirit. The prosperity and determination the city had to rise up out of nothing can be seen in the lining of the streets.

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