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The Richest Chicagoans of All Time

How do today’s billionaires and multimillionaires compare with yesterday’s? We put them through an inflation-equalizing machine to get the answer.

(page 2 of 3)

Here are Chicago’s ten wealthiest people ever, in 2005 dollars.

1. John D. MacArthur (1897-1978)
$23.3 billion
Owned banks, insurance companies, oil wells, and a big swath of Florida. In 1972, his fortune was estimated in the Chicago Sun-Times at $5 billion. A chunk of that funds the annual “genius” grants handed out (at the rate of about $200 million a year) by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

2. Ty Warner (b. 1944)
$4.4 billion
The man behind the now-defunct Beanie Babies craze, he has invested lately in high-end international resorts.

3. Lester Crown (b. 1925) and family
$4 billion
A significant shareholder in General Dynamics, which subsumed the Material Service Corporation-the construction company cofounded by Crown’s father, Henry-in 1959

4. William Wrigley Jr. (b. 1964)
$3.4 billion
Head of the chewing-gum superpower founded by his great-grandfather

5. Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932)
$2.9 billion
After buying a one-quarter interest in the fledgling Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1895 for $37,500, he built the company into the retail and catalog powerhouse of the first half of the 20th century. He left an estate estimated at $200 million.

6. Marshall Field (1834-1906)
$2.8 billion
The man who started Chicago’s grandest department stores. Remember them? At his death, he was worth an estimated $118 million.

7. Matthew Bucksbaum (b. 1926) and family
$2.4 billion
His family’s General Growth Properties owns or manages more than 200 shopping malls.

8. Sam Zell (b. 1941)
$2.3 billion
Maverick real-estate investor

9. W. Clement Stone (1902-2002)
Upwards of $2.1 billion
Insurance magnate and coauthor of Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude

10. John P. Calamos Sr. (b. 1940)
$2.1 billion
Head of a set of mutual funds based in Naperville


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