Timeline of the City's History

Click on images to display more for each year.

1871 Great Chicago Fire (City Population is at 298,977; 90,000 left homeless, 300 dead; Center City devastated.  Chicago Public Library founded with books donated after the fire) 
Montgomery Ward Founded (First mass market catalog company)
Selected case(s) from this year:  2403
1872 First Black Police Officer (Mayor Carter Harrison appoints 4 Black police officers)
Selected case(s) from this year:  505
1873 Financial Panic (through 1879) ("Bread Riot" on LaSalle Street; Founding of Pullman City) 
First Women Admitted to Bar (May Hulett first woman elected to Illinois Bar; Ada Kelplay first woman to graduate from law school in 1870)
1874 Selected case(s) from this year:  506, 69
1875 Selected case(s) from this year:  793
1876 Selected case(s) from this year:  862
1877 National Railroad Strikes (The 'Great Uprising' in Chicago, thousands armed, 30 dead, 300 wounded)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1992, 1712
1878 Working Women's Union No. 1 (First Women's Labor organization in Chicago founded)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1108, 2126, 797, 322
1879 Art Institute founded (Michigan Avenue building opened in 1887)
Selected case(s) from this year:  2474
1880 Selected case(s) from this year:  77, 1416
1881 Pullman City opens (Company Town, with 8,000 residents; Annexed to city in 1889. Chicago the headquarters for anarchists, socialists, and moderate labor organizers)
Selected case(s) from this year:  2129, 1265, 1419
1882 Selected case(s) from this year:  1996, 2725, 3
1883 Standardized National Time Zone (Standardized national railroad time introduced in Chicago)
Selected case(s) from this year:  2566, 2133, 2568
1884 City Population doubles (Total population reaches 629,895)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1785, 6, 801
1885 Selected case(s) from this year:  1272, 93, 94, 333
1886 Haymarket Riot (7 Police Killed; Anti-unionist sentiment rises, Anarchists tried, some pardoned, some executed November 11, 1886)
Selected case(s) from this year:  95, 516, 97, 2406
1887 Selected case(s) from this year:  1129, 1433, 2003, 1805
1888 Selected case(s) from this year:  98, 101
1889 Selected case(s) from this year:  2151, 107, 108
1890 Sears Roebuck moves to Chicago (Second retailer challenges Montgomery Ward )
Selected case(s) from this year:  9, 2579, 2483
1891 City Population doubles (Total population reaches 1,215,000) 
Chicago Symphony founded (Art Institutions grow; Construction begins for World Columbian Exposition)
Provident Hospital founded (Chicago's First Black Civic Institution)
Selected case(s) from this year:  2411, 11
1892 Selected case(s) from this year:  527, 2168, 123
1893 World Colombian Exposition (Twenty-seven million visitors flock to the "White City," designed by the leading architects of the day)
Mayor Carter Harrison assassinated(Mayor Harrison assassinated after closing Exhibition)
American Railroad Union founded (Has 150,000 nationwide members by June, 1894, when first National Chicago Convention held in Chicago)
Marshall Field's, World's Largest Department Store (One of first stores to install electric lights; commercial center developing in center city)
Financial panic and economic depression(Stock Market Crash; unemployment at 18.3%; Economic down turn continues through 1898. Severe housing shortage and large homeless population)
Selected case(s) from this year:  124, 661, 126, 897, 2748, 898, 535
1894 Pullman Strike and Great Northern Railroad Strike (Pullman Strike and national boycott (Led by E. V. Debs); President Cleveland sends in National Guard, 2,000 federal troops occupy Chicago) 
First Black Woman admitted to Bar (Ida Platt, first Black woman admitted to the Bar, is the only Black woman lawyer until 1920)
Louis Sullivan builds the Chicago Stock Exchange (Architectural landmark, Chicago is becoming a leading Architectural Center)
Selected case(s) from this year:  14, 903, 131, 16
1895 Selected case(s) from this year:  139, 1462, 1038, 818, 21
1896 Democratic Convention held in Chicago (Bryan defeated by McKinley in November election; allegations of massive vote fraud in Chicago)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1883, 1469, 372, 374
1897 Completion of Chicago Loop (Elevated Circular Railway becomes city and national landmark)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1806, 150, 1482, 155
1898 Hull House founded (Jane Addams opens "social settlement" house for immigrants, becomes political and intellectual center) 
Spanish-American War (125,000 U.S. Troops in the Philippines; Annex of Puerto Rico, Philippines and Panama)
Julius B. Grinnell dies of heart disease.
Selected case(s) from this year:  931, 1165, 23, 1305
1899 Cook County Juvenile Court founded (The First Juvenile Court in the Nation and the World) 
Women's Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon League (Founded in Evanston, IL, a Chicago suburb, plays a large role in local and national politics)
President Hayes' Open Door Policy (Greatly increased immigration from abroad)
Selected case(s) from this year:  1493, 164, 1813, 2215, 25, 666, 170
1900 Chicago has Longest Cable Car Lines and Street Car Lines in the World
Selected case(s) from this year:  943, 2761, 2233, 34, 1741
1901 Selected case(s) from this year:  2051, 1902, 2244, 2245, 2057, 1325
1902 Selected case(s) from this year:  197, 849, 213, 198, 1327, 234, 206
1903 Selected case(s) from this year:  749, 584, 440, 2269, 2644, 219, 1687, 40, 2780
1904 Justice of the Peace System abolished (Court structure reorganized)
Selected case(s) from this year:  427, 1834, 1755, 231, 1074, 435, 45, 859, 241, 607
1905 Municipal Court of Chicago created (Established by Constitutional Amendment; Bureaucratic reorganizing of courts) 
Mayor cleans up Old Custom House District (Over 200 houses of prostitution closed)
Selected case(s) from this year:  238, 1934, 439, 614, 793, 1218
1906 "The Jungle" published (Upton Sinclair's exposť of conditions in the Chicago meat packing industry; U.S. Congress passes Pure Food and Drug Act)
Selected case(s) from this year:  245, 449, 2541, 1568, 1228
1907 Selected case(s) from this year:  463, 273, 1094, 1374
1908 Selected case(s) from this year:  775, 56, 2456, 2102, 280
1909 Burnam Plan for Chicago Chicago has 1 million immigrants; second to New York City in total immigrants
Selected case(s) from this year:  2793, 482, 486, 294
1910 Selected case(s) from this year:  787, 65, 2701, 1617, 313, 311
1911 Selected case(s) from this year:  3766, 5406, 2848, 4703, 3646, 3189, 4214
1912 Official "Closing" of the Levee District (Mayor and City Council vote to close segregated zone of 'vice') 
Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs runs for president (Nominated in Chicago, wins nearly one million votes nationwide)
Selected case(s) from this year:  5456, 4558, 5005, 4367, 3646, 3189, 4214
1913 Selected case(s) from this year:  2865, 2977, 5023, 5595, 3365, 4874
1914 Selected case(s) from this year:  4231, 4659, 4235, 4607, 4880, 4238, 4404, 3000, 4245
1915 City Population doubles (Total population reaches 2,448,426) 
First Black Alderman elected(Cook County Bar Association, Black Lawyers Association founded)
Selected case(s) from this year:  3397, 4619, 4744, 4566, 4249, 4749, 3684
1916 Great Migration of American Blacks to Chicago (50,000 blacks from the South came to Chicago from 1916-1919, doubling the black population to over 100,000 in 1920 and to 233,000 in 1930)
Selected case(s) from this year:  3426, 3025, 3690, 3244, 5509, 3693, 3249, 3857, 3042
1917 World War I (United States declares war against Germany and Japan)
Selected case(s) from this year:  3261, 3706, 3262, 3263, 3267, 327, 3275, 3587, 3589
1918 World War I Armistice  
Spanish Flu Epidemic(8,500 deaths in Chicago)
Selected case(s) from this year:  3282, 3439, 3429, 3077, 4299, 3080, 3082, 352, 3599
1919 Chicago Race Riot (38 dead, 500 injured, rioting, home burning and thousands left homeless, similar riots in other U.S. cities)  
Illinois State Prohibition law(Illinois ratifies 18th Amendment and passes State prohibition statutes; Al Capone moves to Chicago)
Selected case(s) from this year:  4036, 3916, 3110, 3113, 5559, 3750, 4811, 3122, 3123, 3320
1920 18th Amendment (U.S. Constitution) (U.S. Prohibition begins January 16, 1920, forbidding "the manufacturing, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquor" (repealed, effective December 5, 1933))
Selected case(s) from this year:  3130, 3922, 3130, 3132, 3137, 3324, 3612, 4697, 2935, 5593
1921 19th Amendment (U.S. Constitution) (Women attain the Right to Vote)
Selected case(s) from this year:  5843, 7448, 6051, 6160, 5845, 7423, 6866, 6412, 7298, 6323, 6979, 6657, 5594, 6067
1922 Selected case(s) from this year:  6690, 7455, 7455, 7188, 6539, 7022, 5866, 5724, 7456, 6545, 6002, 6775, 6359
1923 Mayor William Dever elected (Reform Mayor Dever pledges to close every "vicious cabaret") 
First Women Judge(Mary Bertelme first woman elected to the Circuit Court)
Selected case(s) from this year:  7205, 7067, 7346, 7208, 5648, 6458, 6726, 6293, 6664, 6807, 6112, 7263, 7377
1924 Passage of U. S. Immigration Act (Severely restricts overseas immigration (especially from Asia and Eastern Europe))
Selected case(s) from this year:  6129, 5789, 6130, 7381, 7128, 6487, 7134, 6034, 7229, 6149, 5948, 7236, 7238
1925 Selected case(s) from this year:  8430, 8353, 9119, 7866, 8776, 7719, 8532, 8157, 9124, 7734, 8273, 8059, 8452, 8368, 8984, 7765, 8555
1926 Selected case(s) from this year:  9201, 9003, 8189, 8001, 9007, 8008, 8007, 8472, 9283, 8589, 8256, 8820, 9164, 8710, 7976
1927 Selected case(s) from this year:  8322, 7658, 8122, 9351, 7939, 7979, 8684, 8235, 8502, 8138, 7952, 8261
1928 Selected case(s) from this year:  9965, 11218, 9396, 10416, 10675, 10099, 11006, 10525, 10636, 9682
1929 Stock Market Crash (Black Tuesday) 
St. Valentine's Day Massacre(Al Capone's gang executes 14 members of rival gang; culmination of gang warfare in Chicago)
Selected case(s) from this year:  9695, 11024, 9923, 9812, 9520, 10543, 11350, 10643, 10546, 9705, 11058, 10027, 10155
1930 Selected case(s) from this year:  10036, 10159, 9946, 11085, 10471, 10166, 11439, 9441, 9606, 10285, 11268, 11124, 10390, 11132, 10853, 9764, 11426