The Windy City

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Chicago owed its famous nickname to the stiffness of the breezes that come ashore off Lake Michigan, and funnel between the city's multitude of high–rise buildings. But they would be wrong to do so.

According to the Readers Digest, the moniker arose from criticism of the city's elites, who were said by local journalists to be "full of hot air". The Digest quotes "an 1858 article from the Chicago Daily Tribune": "[a] hundred militia officers, from corporal to commander ... air their vanity ... in this windy city."

"Numerous newspapers", it continues, "used the 'Windy City' reference for the egotistical politicians of Chicago who gave long–winded speeches (known as 'windbags'), but only wanted to con people to turn a profit."

© Haydn Thompson 2021