Chicago: Fun Facts About The Windy City

View of cityscape with fantastic light and colors of sky against skyscraper. (Aurimas Adomavicius/Getty Images)

It's Named After A Stinky Onion

The third-most populous city in the United States, Chicago, was founded in 1837 after decades of existing as several unincorporated towns. Its name comes from the French interpretation of the Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa, which referred to a local and particularly smelly species of onion. Its population swelled by the thousands in only its first years, and it served as a major transit hub for those heading west thanks to its rail lines and access to both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

The Birthplace Of Route 66

Of course, no great transit hub would be complete without roads, and Chicago boasts one of the most famous in the world, as it was the origination point of the famed Route 66. Created in 1926 by the Army Corp of Engineers, Route 66 was the main thoroughfare taking drivers from the heart of the Midwest all the way to the beaches of sunny California