199. Chicago (Listen and Read)
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Chicago is one of the most famous American cities.
Some cities in the United States such as New York,
Los Angeles, and San Francisco, may be more glamorous,
but many people agree that Chicago is the city that best represents the United States.
Located in the middle of North America,
Chicago has derived much benefit from its geography.
The city's central location has made its O'Hare International Airport
the "hub" for most airlines in the United States.
Its location on the shores of Lake Michigan has made it a major port and business center,
where the agricultural and industrial products of the American Midwest are shipped overseas.
Until about the 1830s, Chicago was a minor trading post.
But then it grew rapidly as the most important town in the rapidly developing areas of the midwestern United States.
In 1871, the city was destroyed by a fire.
It is often said that the fire started when a cow knocked over an oil lamp.
It took about 20 years for the city to be completely rebuilt,
but it continued to expand.
In 1882, the first skyscraper was built in Chicago.
Around the turn of the century, the population of Chicago was growing quickly.
Many African-American people moved to Chicago from the southern United States,
and many immigrants from Eastern Europe also arrived in Chicago during this time.
Because of the busy and active atmosphere of the city,
an American poet described Chicago as "the city of broad shoulders".
Chicago became notorious for organized crime during the Prohibition Era of the 1920s,
when the sale of alcohol was illegal.
Mobsters such as Al Capone became rich by smuggling liquor,
and many people were killed in conflicts between rival gangs of criminals.
But the influence of organized crime later became weaker.
In the decades following World War II,
Chicago experienced some problems with crime, poverty, and racial conflict.
However, the city has recently prospered, and social conditions have improved for many people in Chicago.
Compared with other large cities, Chicago is viewed as an affordable place to live, with a high quality of life.
The city has efficient transportation, and many beautiful parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Chicago is famous for its many attractions, including the Art Institute of Chicago,
the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium,
the Sears Tower, and the "Miracle Mile" shopping district.
Indeed, Chicago is one of the most interesting cities in the United States.