When does a town become a city? For Chicago, that was exactly 184 years ago, when the state of Illinois officially gave it the bump to city status using the exact language you’d expect from a law written in 1837: “That the district of country in the county of Cook in the state aforesaid … shall hereafter be known by the name of city.”
Similar to how this anniversary doesn’t matter much to anyone outside of Chicago today, it wasn’t a big deal across the country back then. Martin Van Buren was sworn in as the United States’ eighth president on the same day, which dominated national headlines. And unlike the Midwest metropolis it is now, the newly anointed city of Chicago had a population of just 4,500 at the time.
* The Question: Your birthday wishes for Chicago?