One Tough Daisy

A lesson in Midwestern history! :P 

((So yesterday while I was working on a paper for class about the World’s Fair of 1893, I got a liiiittle sidetracked by a chapter (in the book “Becoming the Second City: Chicago’s Mass News Media 1833-1898 by Richard Junger) all about how Chicago and St. Louis were bitter rivals for the better part of a century. Believe it or not, STL used to be the dominant city of the midwest and Chicago was a young arrogant upstart intent on upstaging her at every opportunity. 

These are all actual quotes found in newspapers from both cities throughout the 19th century (from around the 1850s to 1893). 

In the mid-19th century the Wisconsin Journal wrote that “Chicago has been making a tremendous effort to outdo other ambitious cities.” Everything had to be bigger, better, and more publicized. Basically Chicago was all like this. Even when the fire happened, Chicago was determined to make it the most publicized and most talked-about fire in America. Just ask Wisconsin…

Chicago was founded largely by northerners, and since St. Louis was in Missouri, a slave state, Chicagoans often dissed St. Louisans for being morally bankrupt while basically being no better themselves. Meanwhile, St. Louis accused Chicago of being a pawn of Boston. 

Much of their competition however focused on numbers. Throughout the century, Chicago saw its population increase by great numbers, until it realized it would inevitably beat out St. Louis. St. Louis realized this too, and there were many reports of census fraud (counting out of staters who were in town for fairs, counting dead bodies, etc etc) on STL’s side to try to make their population seem bigger. Chicago was also accused of doing the same thing, exaggerating the figures juuuust a bit. xD

It ought to be said, however, that in spite of everything, St. Louis was one of the biggest contributors of money and supplies after Chicago’s fire. ($300,000 worth of aid.) I guess when it comes down to it, you can count on her. xD Well because STL had gone through something similar a few decades earlier.

When it came time to decide who would host the World’s Fair of 1893, they were back at it again though. Both cities wanted it, although many observers believed that St. Louis didn’t have a fighting chance and stayed in the running just to piss of Chicago. It’s okay; she got her own fair in 1904. STL complained that Chicago was much too dirty and polluted to host anyone, let alone a world’s fair. One newspaper reported that “Chicago’s statesmen have prepared a bill.. in hope of bamboozling the body into believing that the Big Smoke is a good place to hold the World’s Fair.” Chicago, meanwhile, was basically like, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” a.k.a. haters gonna hate. 

BONUS: Chicago didn’t just get kicks from dissing St. Louis. It also had some pretty choice words for New York:

Chicago slaughters and packs its hogs; New York puts them on committees. 

Anywaaaay.

St. Louis belongs to Stacey and Chicago belongs to Kim. :) 

We’re just gonna ignore how I got lazy and also ignore the anachronistic clothes. OTL))