Have you heard? It's gotten cold. It seems temps are dropping all over the US and Chicago is following the trend. As I enjoyed my central heating, microwave to re-warm my coffee and more central heating today, I couldn't help but wonder about the early settlers of Chicago.

Sure, today there are many, many reasons to love this city despite temperatures that occasionally hover near zero. But can you imagine settling here when it looked like this?

But a few people did. And then a few more. And then a few more.

Chicago Census 

28 people in 1830 
1.96 million people in 1900 

In a period of 70 years, Chicago went through a bit of a population BOOM! In fact, it was the fastest growing American city of the 19th century.

And you want to know something crazy? It was during those same 70 years that they managed to burn a huge section of it to the ground!

But it turns out the fire actually helped Chicago grow. People flocked here after the fire knowing the city would need to be rebuilt - in other words, knowing there would be jobs available.

In the 1870s 10,000 people per month were moving to Chicago. Just to put that in perspective, Las Vegas, the fastest growing US city today, has 4,000 people moving in each month. Consider that our population is about 8 times what is was in 1870 and it's hard not to be astounded by Chicago's rapid growth.

And it turns out the people that moved in were no slouches. By 1900, Chicago's population boom had turned the city into this.

Apparently they were in a hurry to escape Chicago's winters!

Alright spill, how cold is it where you are?