April 19, 2006

City of Big Shoulders

The origin of Chicago's nickname "the Windy City" is obvious enough. That origin almost blew me into the lake Sunday morning as I sped along the bike trail.*

Carl_sandburg"City of Big Shoulders" puzzled me, though. And it's one of those things I would think about from time to time and forget to google once I got to a computer.

Turns out it's from Carl Sandburg's poem "Chicago," and it refers to the manly physiques of the hard laborers of his day. I guess that theory about cold winters and big coats didn't make all that much sense anyway.

"Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders

*As my friend Leigh (now a member of the Second City Conservatory, woo woo!) has gently informed me, the origin of the nickname "the Windy City" is more complicated than just a reference to weather conditions. Several relevent links, well, contribute to my confusion. Anyway.

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