Chicago's 7 Wonders Chosen by Citizens, August 17, 1923



No Two of 300 Agree on Association of Commerce Questions; Parks First.


Three hundred Chicagoans, in answer to a questionnaire sent out by the Association of Commerce, have elected these as the seven wonders of Chicago:

1. The boulevard and park system.

2. The stockyards.

3. The Field Museum.

4. The University of Chicago.

5. The municipal pier.

6. Lake Michigan.

7. The Marshall Field & Co. store, the Chicago Plan and "the Chicago spirit," tied.

No Two Quite Agreed.

A summary of the answers, made public [today] by the Association of Commerce, shows an astonishing variety of selections. Each of the 300 voters had his own ideas about the city's wonders. No two quite agreed.

Indeed, no one civic wonder got more than the forty-eight votes accorded the boulevard and park system, although each voter had seven chances. The questionnaire came pretty near making 2,100 nominations.

The stockyards, second in popularity, drew the votes of thirty-four persons, and the Field Museum got twenty-eight. The triple tie for seventh place was at eleven votes. From that figure down the drop is sudden, to scattered threes and twos and ones for just about everything inside the city limits -- the city hall, Chicago's "village spirit," the board of trade in action, the municipal golf links, Chicago's adherence to home and church.

Jane Addams "First Citizen."

The Association of Commerce invited the selected voters to designate "conditions, persons, achievements or things." Of the persons designated, Miss Jane Addams was first with five votes. Charles H. Wacker, chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, was given three votes, and Julius Rosenwald, Samuel Insull, Lorado Taft and Frederick Stock, director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, two each.

Firemen, policemen, stenographers, businessmen, educators and politicians were among the 300 voters, and their habits often determined their selections. One policeman, for instance, gave first place to the mounted police. A fireman voted for the conduits that keep the loop free of overhead wires.

Walter Dill Scott, president of Northwestern University, gave his first vote to the Rotary clubs. William H. Finley, president of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, placed the park system first and was one of the five to vote for Jane Addams. Miss Ellen R. Hughes, a loop stenographer, listed the department stores, the parks and the movies in that order.

Selects "Chicago Itself."

Dr. William E. Barton, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Oak Park, called "Chicago itself" the greatest of the city's wonders and put next "the Chicago river, flowing upstream, a fountain of purification."

The forest-preserve system. Ravinia Park, the St. Gaudens Lincoln, the Fine Arts Building in Jackson Park, the Wrigley Building, Lorado Taft's "Fountain of Time," the Civic Opera Association were among the wonders that drew more than one vote.