In 1990, Chicago's title of "Second City" became an honorific, as the population of Los Angeles surpassed that of Chicago and became the largest in the US after New York. But Chicagoans continue to glory in the city's triumphs. It remains the US's largest transportation center and the financial capital of the Midwest.
Chicago Board of Trade, founded in 1848, continues to be the most important grain market in the nation.
Sears Tower recaptured the title of World's Tallest Building in two of four categories in 1997. The Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships.
The 1999 Cows on Parade, a public-art project of 300 fiberglass cows decorated by Chicago artists, delighted locals and visitors alike.
Chicago has had its share of recent disasters. In 1992, the Chicago River poured into a hole pierced in an abandoned tunnel in the Loop. Water filled downtown basements, threatening to sink the city center below the level of the original swampland. As a mature city, Chicago offers superb public art and architecture, and natural, cultural, and gastronomical delights. The city's dynamism is sure to linger in the memories of its visitors for decades to come.
In 1955, Chicago elected Democrat Richard J. Daley as mayor, a position he held until his fatal heart attack in 1976. In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. brought the civil rights movement to Chicago, challenging Daley's Whites only political machine and the segregation of the Black population.
Daley's administration survived the West Side riots, prompted by the assassination of King in Memphis, and the disastrous confrontations between police and demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention, both in 1968. Daley was equally well known for his commitment to a clean city, in keeping with his motto "Keep Chicago beautiful." Daley's successors include Jane Byrne, Chicago's first female mayor (1979-83), and Harold Washington, Chicago's first Black mayor (1983-7), called "the people's mayor" because he was considered to be in touch with the grassroots. Washington made significant structural changes in city operations before dying of a heart attack at his desk, shortly after his re-election as mayor in 1987. In 1989, Chicagoans elected Richard M. Daley, son of former mayor Richard J. Daley, as mayor .