"Windy City"--"Windy" humorously/incorrectly connected with the wind/hot air of Chicago's businessmen
Cohen, Gerald Leonard
gcohen at UMR.EDU
Mon Dec 20 21:38:10 UTC 2004
Below is an item on "Windy City" (sent to me some 8 years ago by Barry Popik), of interest as an example of the (re)interpretation of "Windy City" as deriving from the wind/hot air of its businessmen. (The original reference--elsewhere--as Barry has amply demonstrated, was to meteorological wind.)
Seems there was a friendly or not-so-friendly rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis (+ Cincinnati, New York), which led to the wind/hot air folk-etymology of "Windy City" that has proved so hard to dislodge.
_St. Louis Post-Dispatch_, August 24, 1897, p. 4, col. 2:
'The Inter-Ocean of Chicago resents the sincere sympathy expressed by the Post-Dispatch for the Windy City's business distresses. "The great lake city," says the Inter-Ocean, "is doing pretty well now and will be carrying on buisness at the old stand when the Lilliputian river town has gone into hopeless bankruptcy."
We are really sorry for the Chicagoans, because two scientists agree that "the old stand" will soon be under the waters of Lake Michigan, and while Chicago uses a good deal of water in carrying on her business she chiefly depends on wind.'
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