Spring 1976Robert Williams brings Frankie Knuckles from New York to DJ all-night weekend sets at his newly opened club, the Warehouse, a black gay juice bar.
1981WBMX-FM hires the original Hot Mix 5, including future hit makers Farley “Funkin’” Keith (later known as Farley Jackmaster Funk) and Ralphi Rosario, to bring Warehouse-style mixing into Chicago’s living rooms every Saturday night.
Early 1982With the help of sound-engineering student Erasmo Rivera, Knuckles begins making reel-to-reel edits of his favorite club tracks, stripped-down and extended versions that will serve as house music’s blueprint.
July 1982Joe Shanahan opens Smartbar in Wrigleyville—the city’s longest-running house club still in existence—and books Frankie Knuckles on selected nights.
February 1983Williams opens a second club, the Music Box, installing DJ Ron Hardy, who pushes the tempo so fast he earns the nickname Heart Attack Hardy.
October 1983Dave Shelton opens the legendary club Medusa’s in Lake View, where the city’s emerging industrial scene commingles with rising house stars like Lil Louis, Armando, and DJ Rush.
January 1984Jesse Saunders releases “On and On,” commonly regarded as the first-ever house 12-inch.
1985Phuture—the trio of Spanky, Herb J, and DJ Pierre—brings a demo of “Acid Tracks” to Ron Hardy, who plays it that night at the Music Box. Tapes of it will trade hands for two years before Trax Records releases it, whereupon it births the subgenre of acid house.
1986Chicago mailman and amateur musician Marshall Jefferson, as part of the loose collective On the House, records “Move Your Body,” released by Trax Records. It becomes house’s defining sing-along.
January 1987J.M. Silk’s “Jack Your Body” reaches No. 1 on the pop chart in Britain, setting the stage for the rise of house there.
April 1987An ordinance passed by the City of Chicago goes into effect, forcing juice bars—which had thrived as all-night dance parties—to shut down at 2 a.m., the same as most dance clubs serving alcohol.
October 1989Lil Louis’s 10-minute “French Kiss” hits No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart.
January 1992Cajual Records, founded by Curtis A. Jones, a.k.a. Cajmere, releases the greatest one-two in house history: his own “Percolator,” so big it started its own dance craze, and “Brighter Days,” with vocals from Dajae.
March 1992Ron Hardy dies at 34 of an undetermined cause.
Summer 1994Under the moniker D.J. #1, DJ Funk releases the EP Ghetto Trax on Dance Mania, introducing the ghetto house subgenre, which features raunchy samples and superfast beats.
August 2004A stretch of South Jefferson Street is renamed Frankie Knuckles Way.
March 2014Frankie Knuckles dies at 59 of complications from diabetes.