The origin of Chicago's nickname, the "Windy City," is solved! The
Chicago conference can't go on without it!
In 1994, I was in the Chicago Historical Society, catching the end of
its wonderful 1893 Columbian Exposition exhibit. I had told the tour guide
what I did, that I had solved "the Big Apple" and "the Great White Way," that
no one in New York City was interested, that I was losing my home after the
co-op sponsor of my building went bankrupt, that "the Great White Way" was
influenced by Chicago's "White City," etc.
"They call us the Windy City, but we're not. New York's much windier,"
he said. "It supposedly comes from a windy politican in the 1880s."
Bill Clinton hits the Windy City next month. This is not true!
And yes, Chicago is not the windiest city. Studies have Buffalo right
If you check the guidebooks, as I have, they're all wrong. You'll read
that Charles A. Dana of the New York Sun coined it in 1889 or 1890 when New
York competed with Chicago for the Fair site. Then you'll see the name
Charles Gibson Dana used. Then you'll see the name Richard Henry Dana used,
who's a different Dana altogether, and was dead at the time.
Then you'll check some reliable dictionaries that come from Chicago, and
you'll see an 1887 source! Don't these guidebooks check? And that one
source, that one slim citation, will be the clue.....