Why Is Chicago Called The White City?

Have you ever wondered why Chicago is referred to as the “White City”? Although the city certainly isn’t white in color, the nickname has an interesting and fascinating backstory. From historic buildings to the 1893 World’s Fair, the nickname “White City” has an intriguing historical origin.

In this article, we’ll discuss why Chicago is sometimes referred to as the “White City”, and take a look at some of the famous buildings and structures that embody this nickname. Keep reading for an illuminating look at this historic nickname, and the White City movement of the late 19th century.

Why is Chicago Called the White City?

Chicago is reputed as one of the most prominent cities in the United States and is known by several nicknames including the “The Windy City” and the “Second City. ” But perhaps the city is best known for its most unique moniker, “The White City.

”That nickname dates back to the city’s legendary 1893 World’s Fair. During that huge event, the city of Chicago was visually transformed into “The White City.

” More than 200 buildings were adorned with gleaming white stucco and lighted at night with electric lights in a spectacular show of innovation and technology.

The Landmark Buildings of “The White City”

During the fair, what is known as the Court of Honor was the centerpiece of downtown Chicago. At the time, it was considered the most remarkable achievement of its age.

The Court of Honor featured a series of grandiose Beaux-Arts style buildings. These neoclassical facades glistened white and were topped with towering domes and minarets, creating a striking visual effect.

Innovative Technology of the Times

The White City was the pinnacle of innovation and engineering in its time, with electricity playing a huge part. This World’s Fair provided people of that era with the first opportunity to witness electric lighting and the innovation had a tremendous impact on the public’s imagination. The sight of entire buildings- and even an entire city- being lit electric was awe-inspiring.

The Unmistakable Brightness of the White City

The mesmerizing white glow of Chicago had an undeniable impact on people during the World’s Fair. Top notch talent and artisans of the era were in charge of their design and construction.

From the Fair’s iconic Ferris Wheel to the stunning architecture, people celebrated the sheer beauty of the bright White City and the strong themes of progress and innovation.


The city of Chicago was permanently reinvigorated by the World’s Fair of 1893 and the nickname which the city has proudly held ever since. Today, the city of Chicago embraces “The White City” name, as a romantic reminder of that special historic moment over a century ago. Citations: https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/White_City_(Chicago)https://www. nbcchicago. com/blogs/making-of-chicago/why-is-chicago-called-the-white-city-18851731htmlhttps://www. architecture. org/experience-city/chicago/chicagos-white-city/

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