March 4, 1837: City of Chicago Incorporated

From Town to City

City of the Century bookcoverOn March 4, 1837, the Illinois state legislature enacted a city charter for Chicago.

At the time, Chicago was a different place than we would recognize today. The population was over 4,000, according to the 1840 federal census.

Read how Chicago evolved from a seasonal hunting ground for local Native American tribes to a thriving, modern city in City of the Century by Donald Miller. To explore the city's history further, visit the Encyclopedia of Chicago online. If you like old maps, view this 1836 map of Chicago, printed a year before incorporation.

This summer, Chicago is the host city for the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference.

-- Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian