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17. The Sears Tower is Completed

Photo: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images May 3, 1973 By the time construction topped out on the 110-story skyscraper from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago had snatched that most coveted of big-city bragging rights — and away from New York, no less. The building at Adams and Franklin edged out the World Trade Center by 82 feet, making it … Read more

15. Dantrell Davis is Murdered

Photo: John Kim/Chicago Tribune October 13, 1992 There were 943 slayings in Chicago that year — the highest per capita ever recorded — but few of them sickened Chicagoans as deeply as that of the 7-year-old boy killed on his way to school by a sniper firing from one of the Cabrini-Green towers. (The shooter claimed he was aiming … Read more

13. The City Council Approves Reparations for Jon Burge Torture Victims

Jackie Wilson (center), one of Burge’s victims, after his case was dropped this year Photo: Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune May 6, 2015 The South Side police commander had been convicted five years earlier of lying in court about leading a ring of cops who tortured confessions from dozens of detainees. Now, with the City Council voting … Read more

9. Unrest Grips Downtown After the Killing of George Floyd

Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune May 30, 2020 Cries for justice don’t wait for a pandemic. Already reeling from the COVID-19 lockdown, Chicagoans bore witness to an explosion of anger, protest, and confrontation not seen since the 1960s, and in the city’s very heart. Suddenly the sorrow and righteous indignation that had been a fixture … Read more

11. Illinois Voters Guarantee Pension Benefits

Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune December 15, 1970 The words, embedded in the new Illinois constitution ratified in a ballot measure, didn’t attract much attention at the time, but they planted the seeds for a fiscal disaster that plagues us still today. Government workers’ pension benefits, the clause read, “shall not be diminished or impaired.” That … Read more

8. Millennium Park Opens

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images July 16, 2004 The park was completed behind schedule and overbudget, but no one quibbles about that today. Graced by bold works of public art — Anish Kapoor’s 2006 Cloud Gate would be given pride of place — and the gleaming sail-like superstructure of Frank Gehry’s concert pavilion, it immediately drew locals and tourists by … Read more

7. The Cubs Win the World Series

November 2, 2016 In the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7, Cubs fans felt their stomachs sink. The team had just blown a three-run lead and now found themselves tied with the Indians. It was as if you could hear a collective groan of “Here we go again” rise up among defeatist die-hards. … Read more

5. The Bears Win the Super Bowl

Photo: Ed Wagner/Chicago Tribune January 26, 1986 Ditka, the Fridge, the Punky QB, Sweetness — their personalities were so big that they seemed lifted from a screenplay. Overnight, Da Bears became a cultural touchstone; they even had their own hit record. As for their bragging-rights-forever dominance on the field — a marauding 15–1 season culminating in a 46–10 blowout … Read more

3. Governor J.B. Pritzker Issues a Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune March 20, 2020 After revelers packed Wrigleyville bars on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, the governor intoned, “This is not a joke.” Five days later, as Illinois COVID-19 cases neared 600, he drove the point home, becoming the second governor in the nation to order residents to shelter in place … Read more

1. Harold Washington is Elected Mayor

Photo: Anne Cusack/Chicago Tribune April 12, 1983 “When I woke up the next morning, it seemed like the most beautiful day of my life.” Such was the post–Election Day sentiment of a South Side barber named Smitty, quoted in Dreams From My Father, the book by a certain future president who’d cited Washington’s historic victory … Read more