The Surprising Political Non-Meteorological Origins Behind the Chicago Nickname of ‘The Windy City’

In a gusty episode of the series Today I Found Out, host Simon Whistler explains exactly how the city of Chicago garnered the nickname “The Windy City” and its origins are surprising. Rather the name being meteorological in nature, the wind referring to the city was defined more figuratively in the form of political commentary and later, civic mudslinging.

…individuals from Cincinnati particularly noting Chicago was a “city of wind” or a “windy city.” ..these were often not talking about literal wind, but referencing things like Chicago’s elites – such as politicians and bankers – who were purportedly always full of hot-air and constantly looking to con regular citizens…at this time citizens of certain cities often jumped at any chance to take jabs at their neighboring cities, sometimes even when disasters struck. For instance, when a twister hit Chicago in the 1880s, the Cincinnati writers, rather than showing concern for the people affected, took the chance to make fun of Chicago by saying that the tornado failed to knock down the buildings because they “were so heavily weighed down with mortgages that no whirlwind could affect them.”