The world’s largest commercial office building is Merchandise Mart located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza
The world’s largest illuminated fountain is Buckingham Fountain located in Grant Park
The world’s largest public library is Harold Washington Library Center located at 400 S. State St.
The Lincoln Park Zoo, one of only three free major zoos in the country, is the country’s oldest public zoo with an attendance of three million people.
The world’s tallest masonry building is Monadnock Block located at 53 W. Jackson Blvd.
The world’s largest free-admission food festival is the Taste of Chicago located in Grant Park
The world’s largest convention facility is McCormick Place located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive
The world’s highest steeple above ground is at the United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington St.
The world’s busiest futures exchange is the Chicago Board of Trade located at 141 W. Jackson Blvd.
The Chicago Park District has the nation’s largest municipal harbor system.
The world’s largest stand-alone theater is the Uptown Theatre located at 4810 N. Broadway
The world’s largest parochial school system is the Archdiocese of Chicago
The world’s largest water filtration plant is the Jardine Water Purification Plant located at 600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago produced the first Roller skates in 1884
Chicago produced the first Elevated railway in 1892
Chicago produced the first Cracker Jacks in 1893
Chicago produced the first Zipper in 1896
Chicago produced the first Steel-framed skyscraper in 1885
Chicago produced the first Window envelope in 1902
Chicago is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the rest of the metropolitan area hosts an additional 21 Fortune 500 companies.
McCormick Place, Chicago’s premier convention center, offers the largest amount of exhibition space in North America (2.2 million square feet).
The first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Today, Navy Pier is home to a 15-story Ferris wheel, modeled after the original one.
The game of 16-inch softball, which is played without gloves, was invented in Chicago.
In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project – reversing the flow of the Chicago River so that it emptied into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan.
Chicago was one of the first and largest municipalities to require public art as part of the renovation or construction of municipal buildings, with the passage of the Percentage-for-Arts Ordinance in 1978.
The Chicago Cultural Center is the first free municipal cultural center in the U.S. and home to the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome.
When it opened in 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, with approximately 6.5 million books, was the world’s largest municipal library.
The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories high. Its elevators are among the fastest in the world operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
The first steel rail road in the United States was produced here in 1865.
The first mail-order business, Montgomery Ward & Co., was established here in 1872.
The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built here in 1885.
The first televised U.S. presidential candidates’ debate was broadcast from Chicago’s CBS Studios on September 26, 1960, between John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhous Nixon.
**This Field Trip Feature was brought to you by The Borrowed Book and Mary Nealy, author of Ten Plagues (Barbour Books, 2011). Check out ALL of Mary's books, and visit her at A Season of Suspense.