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Illinois Timeline of State History
Chronological History of Illinois
- 10,000 BC- 8000 BC -Paleo Indians roam the area, briefly occupying small camps in coniferous forests and subsisting on large game and wild plants.
- 8000 BC- 500 BC - Archaic period Indians inhabit deciduous forests in small groups, hunt deer and small game, weave baskets, and grind seeds with stones.
- 500 BC- AD 900 - Woodland culture Indians develop maize agriculture, build villages and burial mounds, invent the bow and arrow for hunting, and begin making pottery.
- 900- 1500 - Indians of the Mississippian culture improve agricultural methods, build temple mounds and large fortified villages. Most of the settlements are abandoned prior to the historic period.
- 1673 -French explorers Jacques Marquette (1637-1675) and Louis Jolliet (1645-1700) descend the Mississippi to the Arkansas River and return to Wisconsin via the Illinois River—the first Europeans to reach the Illinois country.
- 1675 - Marquette founds a mission at the Great Village of the Illinois, near present Utica.
- 1680 -
- French traders René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) and Henry de Tonty (1650-1704) build Fort Crèvecoeur on the Illinois River, near present Peoria.
- Iroquois Indians destroy the Great Village of the Illinois.
- 1682 - La Salle and Tonty build Fort St. Louis across the Illinois River from the Great Village of the Illinois site.
- 1696 - Jesuit priest Pierre François Pinet (1660-1704?) establishes the Guardian Angel mission at present Chicago.
- 1699 - Priests of the Quebec Seminary of Foreign Missions found the Holy Family mission at Cahokia, the first permanent settlement in the Illinois country.
- 1703 - Jesuit priest Gabriel Marest (1662-1714) moves the Immaculate Conception mission from present St. Louis to Kaskaskia.
- 1717 - Illinois becomes part of the French colony of Louisiana.
- 1718 - John Law (1671-1729) is granted a French charter for colonizing the Mississippi Valley; his "Mississippi Bubble" scheme bursts in 1720.
- 1720 - Fort de Chartres in Randolph County becomes the seat of military and civilian government in Illinois.
- 1730 - In a major battle, hostile Fox Indians are massacred in east-central Illinois by French troops and Indian allies.
- 1763 - French and Indian (Seven Years') War ends; Illinois country is ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris.
- 1769 - According to legend, northern tribes besiege and starve Illinois Indians tribes at Fort St. Louis, now known as Starved Rock.
- 1778 - George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) defeats the British at Kaskaskia, securing the Illinois country for Virginia.
- 1779 - Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (1745?-1818) establishes a trading post at present Chicago.
- 1783 - Treaty of Paris extends the United States boundary to include the Illinois country.
- 1784 - Virginia relinquishes its claim to Illinois.
- 1787 - Northwest Ordinance places Illinois in the Northwest Territory.
- 1788 - Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) becomes the first governor of the Northwest Territory.
- 1800 - Congress creates the Indiana Territory, which includes Illinois.
- 1803 -
- Kaskaskia Indians cede nearly all of their Illinois lands to the United States.
- United States Army establishes Fort Dearborn at present Chicago.
- 1804 - William Clark (1770-1838) and his troops depart from Camp Dubois, Madison County, to join Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) for westward explorations.
- 1809 - Congress organizes the Illinois Territory, with Kaskaskia the capital, Ninian Edwards (1775-1833) the governor.
- The first coal mine in Illinois is opened in Jackson County.
- New Madrid, Missouri, earthquake, the largest in United States history, damages southern Illinois (recurs in 1812).
- 1812 - Potawatomi Indians massacre fifty-two troops and civilians in destroying Fort Dearborn.
- 1813 - Land offices are opened at Kaskaskia and Shawneetown.
- 1814 - The first newspaper in the state, the Illinois Herald, is published at Kaskaskia.
- Fort Armstrong is built at Rock Island, and Fort Dearborn is rebuilt at Chicago.
- The first bank in Illinois, at Shawneetown, is chartered by the territorial legislature.
- Morris Birkbeck (1764-1825) and George Flower (1780-1862) establish an English settlement at Albion.
- War of 1812 veterans begin receiving 160-acre land warrants in the Illinois Military Tract, a region between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.
- 1818 - Illinois becomes the twenty-first state, with Kaskaskia the capital and Shadrach Bond (1773-1832) the first governor. Population of the state is 34,620.
- 1819 - Kickapoo Indians move west of the Mississippi, relinquishing most claims to central Illinois lands.
- 1820 - Vandalia becomes the state capital.
- 1821 - General Assembly charters a state bank at Vandalia, with branches at Shawneetown, Edwardsville, and Brownsville.
- 1823 - Galena becomes a center for lead mining.
- 1824 - Voters defeat a constitutional convention call to permit slavery in the state.
- Gurdon S. Hubbard (1802-1886) establishes the Vincennes Trace from southern Illinois to Lake Michigan.
- General Assembly enacts the first public school law and levies a school tax.
- Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) visits Kaskaskia and Shawneetown on a tour of the United States.
- 1827 - John Mason Peck (1789-1858) founds Rock Spring Seminary, the first college in the state.
- 1829 - Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi cede lands in northern Illinois by treaty at Prairie du Chien.
- The first state prison is built at Alton.
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) moves to Illinois from Indiana.
- James Hall (1793-1858) launches Illinois Monthly Magazine, the first literary periodical published west of Ohio.
- 1832 - Black Hawk War ends with Sauk and Fox Indians leaving the Illinois lands they had ceded in 1804.
- 1833 - Treaty of Chicago provides for United States acquisition and settlement of the last remaining Indian lands in Illinois.
- 1835 - General Assembly grants a charter for the Jacksonville Female Academy, the first institution in the state for women's education.
- Illinois and Michigan Canal construction is begun between Lake Michigan and the Illinois Valley; completed in 1848.
- Galena and Chicago Union Railroad is chartered; completed twelve years later.
- Chicago receives a city charter; William Ogden (1805-1877) becomes the first mayor.
- At Alton a pro-slavery mob murders abolitionist editor Elijah P. Lovejoy (b. 1802).
- John Deere (1804-1886) of Grand Detour designs a self-scouring steel plow.
- 1838 - Northern Cross Railroad construction is begun between Meredosia and Springfield; the line is completed in 1842.
- Cherokee Indians pass through southern Illinois on the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma.
- Springfield becomes the state capital.
- National Road is completed from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia.
- 1839 - Joseph Smith (1805-1844) chooses Nauvoo as headquarters for the Mormon church.
- 1841 - Chicagoan John S. Wright (1815-1874) begins publishing Prairie Farmer magazine.
- 1842 - British author Charles Dickens (1812-1870) visits southern Illinois, described in his American Notes (1842).
- 1844 - Anti-Mormons assassinate Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum (b. 1800) Smith at Carthage.
- Mormons leave Nauvoo for the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah.
- Donner party leaves Springfield by wagon train for California; forty-two perish in Sierra Mountains snowstorms.
- Erik Jansson (1808-1850) and Jonas Olson (1802?-1898) establish a Swedish religious colony at Bishop Hill.
- Joseph Medill (1823-1899) founds the Chicago Tribune.
- Jacksonville educator Jonathan Baldwin Turner (1805-1899) introduces Osage orange hedges as farm fencing.
- Inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809-1884) opens a plant in Chicago for manufacturing wheat reapers.
- 1848 - Chicago Board of Trade is organized; it is now the largest and oldest commodity futures exchange in the world.
- 1849 - Ètienne Cabet (1788-1856) establishes a French Icarian communal settlement at Nauvoo.
- Population of the state is 851,470.
- Illinois Central Railroad receives the first federal land grant for rail construction.
- The first state fair is held at Springfield.
- General Assembly enacts legislation to prevent free blacks from settling in the state.
- 1855 - General Assembly adopts a free public school system.
- The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River is completed between Rock Island and Davenport, Iowa.
- Illinois Central Railroad is completed between Chicago, Galena, and Cairo.
- Rand McNally is established in Chicago; by 1880 it is the world's largest mapmaking company.
- Chicago Historical Society is founded, with William H. Brown (1796-1867) the first president.
- 1858 - Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) hold seven debates in the United States Senate contest; Douglas wins the election.
- Lincoln is elected President of the United States, defeating three other candidates.
- Luxury steamer Lady Elgin sinks in Lake Michigan; nearly three hundred perish.
- 1861 - Civil War begins; Cairo becomes a troop and supply center for the Union Army.
- 1862 - Union League of America is founded in Pekin for the promotion of patriotism and Union loyalty.
- 1864 - Lincoln is reelected President.
- General Assembly repeals measures against black settlement (Black Laws); is the first state legislature to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.
- Lincoln is assassinated in Washington, D.C.; buried in Springfield.
- Chicago Union Stock Yards opens; by 1900 employs more than one third of packing industry laborers in the nation.
- 1866 - Grand Army of the Republic is established in Decatur; the first GAR convention is held in Springfield.
- General Assembly establishes the Illinois Industrial University at Champaign-Urbana, renamed the University of Illinois in 1885.
- George M. Pullman (1831-1897) founds the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago, manufacturing railroad sleeping cars.
- Illinois Normal University geologist John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) begins surveys of the Rocky Mountain region; becomes director of the United States Geological Survey in 1880.
- Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), Civil War general from Galena, is elected President of the United States.
- Marshall Field & Co. department store opens in downtown Chicago; at his death, Field (1834-1906) is the city's wealthiest citizen.
- 1871 - Chicago Fire destroys eighteen thousand downtown buildings, with losses estimated at $200 million.
- Chicagoan John Jones (1816-1879) becomes a Cook County commissioner, the first African-American to hold elective office in Illinois.
- Chicago merchant Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844-1913) establishes the first large-scale mail order business.
- General Assembly grants communities taxing authority to establish and maintain public libraries.
- Frances Willard (1839-1898) founds the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Evanston.
- Joseph F. Glidden (1813-1906) of DeKalb develops barbed wire fencing, patented in 1874.
- 1876 - United States Supreme Court establishes in Munn v. Illinois the principle that business of a public nature is subject to state regulation.
- 1877 - General Assembly establishes the Illinois National Guard.
- 1878 - Bell Telephone Company of Illinois begins service in Chicago.
- 1880 - Leslie E. Keeley (1832-1900) and John R. Oughton (1858-1925) establish the Keeley Institute in Dwight for treatment of alcoholism; by 1900 franchised sanitoriums are operating in many states.
- General Assembly enacts the first compulsory school attendance legislation.
- William LeBaron Jenney (1832-1907) designs the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, generally known as the world's first skyscraper.
- 1886 - Haymarket Square bombing and riot in Chicago during a labor rally cause several deaths; eight anarchists are convicted, four are hanged, and one dies in prison.
- 1888 - Chicago attorney Melville W. Fuller (1833-1910) is named Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) open Hull House, one of the nation's first settlement houses, for foreign-born residents of Chicago.
- Evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) founds the Chicago Bible Institute for training missionaries to foreign lands.
- Illinois State Historical Library is established by the state legislature.
- John Mitchell (1870-1919) of Spring Valley becomes president of the United Mine Workers of America (to 1908).
- University of Chicago is incorporated, with William Rainey Harper (1856-1906) the first president.
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra is established, with Christian Theodore Thomas (1835-1905) the first conductor.
- African-American surgeon Daniel Hale Williams (1858-1931) organizes Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first black hospital in the United States; performs the first open-heart surgery in 1893.
- Chicago attorney Myra Bradwell (1831-1894) becomes the first woman admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
- Canal construction to reverse the Chicago River flow is begun; completed in 1900.
- Illinois and Mississippi (Hennepin) Canal construction is begun between the Illinois and the Rock rivers; completed in 1907.
- Adlai Stevenson I (1835-1914) of Bloomington is elected Vice President of the United States on the ticket with Grover Cleveland.
- World's Columbian Exposition is held in Chicago, commemorating the 400th anniversary of European exploratory voyages to the western hemisphere.
- General Assembly establishes regulations for child labor and factory inspections.
- Governor John Peter Altgeld (1847-1902) pardons three imprisoned Haymarket anarchists.
- Pullman factory strike in Chicago becomes a national railway strike; federal troops are called to quell mob violence.
- Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) unsuccessfully defends socialist leader Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) on charges relating to the Pullman strike.
- 1896 - Salem native William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) wins the first of three presidential nominations; is defeated each time.
- 1898 -United Mine Workers win labor disputes at Pana and Virden, after eleven miners and guards are killed.
- 1899 - General Assembly creates the first juvenile court system in the nation.
- Population of the state is 4,821,550.
- Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal opens between Chicago and Lockport.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) establishes a studio in Oak Park for designing "prairie style" architecture.
- Chicago newspaperman Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) launches his literary career with Sister Carrie, the first major novel set in Chicago.
- Fire destroys the Iroquois Theater in Chicago; nearly six hundred perish.
- Joseph G. Cannon (1836-1926), Danville, elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1872, begins the first of four successive terms as Speaker of the House (to 1911).
- Paul P. Harris (1869-1947) and other Chicago businessmen organize the Rotary Club.
- Eugene Debs, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1843?-1930), and others found the Industrial Workers of the World union in Chicago.
- 1906 - Chicago White Sox defeat crosstown rival Chicago Cubs in the baseball World Series.
- 1908 - Springfield race riot leads to formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
- Coal mine fire at Cherry, resulting in 259 deaths, is one of the worst mine disasters in history.
- Architect Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) designs the "Chicago Plan" for development of the lakefront and business district.
- William D. Boyce (1858-1929), Chicago and Ottawa businessman, founds the Boy Scouts of America.
- Winchester native and Northwestern University Dental School dean Greene V. Black (1836-1915) receives the first International Miller Prize in dental science.
- 1911- Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft (1860-1936) completes his most famous work, "The Indian" (later called "Black Hawk"), a massive statue overlooking Rock River in Ogle County.
- 1912 - Harriet Monroe (1860-1936) launches Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in Chicago; includes writings of Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931).
- 1913 - General Assembly grants women the right to vote for presidential electors and provides state aid for county road construction.
- Poet and novelist Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) publishes Spoon River Anthology, a volume on small-town Illinois.
- Excursion steam Eastland capsizes in the Chicago River; 1812 perish.
- With support from Governor Frank O. Lowden (1861-1943) General Assembly adopts a modern civil administrative code for state government.
- In May and July Illinois National Guard troops are sent to East St. Louis to quell race riots.
- Chicago White Sox defeat the New York Giants in the World Series.
- Influenza epidemic causes thirty-two thousand deaths in the state.
- Voters approve a $60 million bond issue for paving state roads.
- Robert Paul Prager (b. 1886), a German-born socialist suspected of disloyalty to the United States, is lynched by a pro-war mob in Collinsville.
- Chicago White Sox players (the "Black Sox") are accused of gambling on the World Series, which they lost to the Cincinnati Red Legs.
- Chicago race riots leave thirty-eight dead and more than five hundred injured; a thousand residents are left homeless.
- John L. Lewis (1880-1969) of Springfield is elected president of the United Mine Workers of America (to 1960).
- Governor Lennington Small (1862-1936) pardons twenty members of the Communist Labor party convicted under the Illinois Sedition Act.
- 1921 - George Halas's (1895-1983) football team, the Staleys, moves from Decatur to Chicago, and wins the national championship; in 1922 the Staleys become the Chicago Bears.
- Decatur manufacturer A. E. Staley (1867-1940) opens the first commercial soybean-processing plant.
- In the "Herrin Massacre," three union miners and twenty strikebreakers are killed in mob violence at a strip mine in Williamson County.
- 1924 - At the University of Illinois' new Memorial Stadium, Harold "Red" Grange (1904-1991), the "Galloping Ghost," scores four touchdowns in twelve minutes against the University of Michigan.
- Charles Gates Dawes (1865-1951) of Evanston becomes Vice President with President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933); receives the Nobel Peace Prize for the "Dawes Plan" to restore the German economy after World War I.
- The worst tornado in United States history devastates parts of Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana; 695 deaths.
- Chicago Cardinals win the professional football championship; repeat in 1947.
- 1926 - Aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) begins daily mail delivery flights between Chicago and St. Louis.
- 1929 - Gunmen of Alphonse Capone (1899-1947) murder seven rival Chicago mobsters in the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre."
- Utilities founded by Chicagoan Samuel Insull (1859-1938), and valued at more than $2 billion, produce one tenth of the nation's electric power.
- Jane Addams wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Disgruntled United Mine Workers organize the Progressive Miners of America at Gillespie and Benld, eventually enlisting twenty thousand members.
- The number of unemployed Chicago workers during the Great Depression reaches 750,000.
- Chicago Bears win the professional football championship; repeat in 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963, and 1986.
- Century of Progress International Exposition commemorates the centennial of the incorporation of Chicago (held again in 1934).
- Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak (b. 1873) dies in Miami, Florida, in an assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945).
- Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward (1896-1955) organizes the first baseball All-Star Game, played at Comisky Park and won by the American League.
- Illinois and Michigan Canal is closed to river traffic.
- 1934 - Chicago Black Hawks win the National Hockey League championship (Stanley Cup); repeat in 1938 and 1961.
- 1937 -
- General Assembly creates an unemployment compensation system.
- On Memorial Day, Chicago police fire on strikers at Republic Steel, resulting in ten deaths.
- 1939 - Chicago author Richard Wright (1908-1960) publishes Native Son, set in Chicago and the first major novel about the black experience in America.
- 1940 - Chicago theater-chain owner John Balaban (1894-1957) establishes WBKB, the first television station in Illinois.
- 1942 - University of Chicago scientists, led by Nobel Prize winner (1938) Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), achieve the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction.
- Chicago Cubs win the National League pennant, lose the World Series to the Detroit Tigers.
- American Airlines inaugurates direct air service from Chicago to London.
- 1949 - Orchard Place Airport in Chicago is renamed O'Hare Field, Chicago International Airport in honor of Lieutenant Commander Edward H. O'Hare (1914-1943), Congressional Medal of Honor recipient killed in World War II.
- Population of the state is 8,712,176.
- Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917) becomes the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize; is named Illinois poet laureate in 1968.
- 1951 - Illinois and Mississippi Canal is closed to river traffic.
- 1952 - Governor Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) is the Democratic nominee for president; defeated by Republican Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969).
- 1953 - State Auditor Orville Hodge (1904-1986) is convicted of $1.5 million theft of state funds.
- 1954 - In Des Plaines, Raymond A. Kroc (1902-1984) opens the first in a chain of McDonald's fast-food restaurants.
- 1955 -Richard J. Daley (1902-1976) is elected to the first of six terms as Chicago mayor.
- 1957 -The nation's first nuclear power generating station is activated at Argonne National Laboratory in DuPage County.
- The first section of Illinois toll roads is opened from O'Hare International Airport to the Wisconsin border.
- Fire at Our Lady of Angels elementary school in Chicago claims the lives of ninety-two children and three nuns.
- Everett M. Dirksen (1896-1969) is elected Republican leader of the United States Senate.
- Chicago White Sox win their first American League championship since the 1919 Black Sox scandal but lose the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- 1959 - Chicago native Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) wins the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for A Raisin in the Sun, the first play by an African-American woman to be presented on Broadway.
- General Assembly names Pulitzer Prize-winner Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) the first poet laureate of Illinois.
- Governor Otto Kerner (1908-1976) leads businessmen on the first Illinois trade mission to Europe.
- 1964 - General Assembly approves an at-large election of 177 representatives after the 1963 veto of a reapportionment bill.
- 1966 - Illinois for the first time leads the nation in exports of agricultural and manufactured products.
- 1968 - Civil disorder erupts during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; police report 650 arrests.
- 1970 -
- After the death of Secretary of State Paul Powell (b. 1902), $800,000 is found in shoeboxes in his Springfield hotel room.
- Voters adopt a new Constitution, the first in one hundred years.
- "Chicago Seven" defendants are convicted on charges relating to violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; the decision is overturned in 1972.
- 1971 - Chicago political and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson (b. 1941) founds Operation PUSH — People United to Save (later Serve) Humanity.
- 1972 -
- Chicago Union Stock Yards closes.
- Abraham Lincoln Home in Springfield is designated the first national historic site in Illinois.
- Two Illinois Central commuter trains collide in Chicago; forty-five passengers are killed and more than two hundred are injured.
- 1973 -Otto Kerner is convicted on charges involving the sale of racetrack stock while governor.
- 1974 -
- The world's tallest building, Sears Tower in downtown Chicago, is completed.
- General Assembly approves a state lottery.
- 1976 -
- James R. Thompson (b. 1936) is elected to the first of four gubernatorial terms (to 1991), the longest-serving governor in Illinois history.
- Chicago author Saul Bellow (b. 1915) wins the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- Jane Byrne (b. 1934) becomes the first female mayor of Chicago.
- American Airlines crash at O'Hare International Airport kills 275, the worst air disaster in United States history.
- Centralia native Roland Burris (b. 1937) becomes Comptroller, the first African-American to hold a statewide elective office in Illinois.
- 1980 - Ronald Reagan (b. 1911) in Tampico, is elected United States President; John B. Anderson (b. 1922) of Rockford is defeated as an Independent candidate.
- Morton Grove ordinance bans the possession of handguns, the most restrictive gun control measure in the nation.
- Peoria native John B. "Jack" Brickhouse (1916-1998) retires after broadcasting more than five thousand Chicago Cubs and White Sox games; receives the National Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award in 1983.
- 1982 - General Assembly fails to ratify the proposed equal rights amendment to the United States Constitution.
- 1983 - Harold Washington (1922-1987) is elected the first African-American mayor of Chicago.
- 1984 - Seventeen Chicago attorneys, police officers, and judges are indicted in Operation Greylord on charges of improperly influencing court cases; convictions include the first for a sitting state court judge in Illinois.
- 1988 - Diamond-Star Motors, an automobile manufacturing venture between Mitsubishi Motors of Japan and the Chrysler Corporation, opens in Bloomington.
- 1989 - Clarence Page (b. 1947) of the Chicago Tribune is the first African-American columnist to win a Pulitzer Prize.
- 1990 - Population of the state is 11,430,602.
- 1991- Chicago Bulls win the first of three consecutive National Basketball Association championships.
- 1992 - Carol Moseley-Braun (b. 1947) of Chicago becomes the first African-American women elected to the United States Senate.
- 1993 - The worst floods in the state's history ravage western and southern Illinois.
- 1994 - Bonnie Blair (b. 1964) speed skater from Champaign, wins her fifth Olympic Games gold medal, the most by an American woman.
- 1995 -
- Navy Pier in Chicago, constructed in 1916 as a shipping terminal and then used for wartime navy and marine training and as a campus of the University of Illinois, is renovated and reopens with a giant Ferris Wheel, children's museum, stage pavilion, and retail shops.
- Commuter train strikes a school bus in Fox River Grove, killing seven and injuring thirty students.
- 1996 - Chicago Bulls post a 72-10 season, best in league history, then wins the National Basketball Association championship. Guard Michael Jordan (b. 1963) sets NBA records with his eighth scoring title and fourth Most Valuable Player designation.
- 1997 - The Field Museum of Natural History, outbidding museums throughout the United States, pays $8.4 million for Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil yet discovered.
- 1998 -
- Fire destroys the historic Pullman railroad-car factory in south Chicago.
- Eighteenth District Congressman Ray LaHood (b. 1945) presides as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during the impeachment of President William J. Clinton.
- 1999 - Fourteenth District Congressman J. Dennis Hastert (b. 1942) is elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
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Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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