Chicago Auto Show Blog

The Makings of the Chicago Auto Show

Posted by: Hayley Feichter

I am no stranger to the city of Chicago. In fact, I live 45 minutes outside the Windy City and make frequent visits with family and friends. One special memory I have of Chicago is going to the Chicago Auto Show with my dad. My first trip to the Chicago Auto Show was when I was twelve years old. My dad has always been a car enthusiast and wanted to share this annual event with me. Although I still don't know a lot about cars, this time of year is special to me because I get to spend time with my dad. 

Each time I attend the Chicago Auto Show I learn something new about the cars, the city, or the show itself. This year, I attended this event not as a visitor, but instead as an intern from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Therefore, compared to years past, I would say this year I have learned the most about the Chicago Auto Show.

Each building in Chicago is full of history, including McCormick Place where the Chicago Auto Show takes place. Here are three fast facts about the Chicago Auto Show: 

1. Chicago is now known as America's Convention Capital, but it didn't always have this title. The first auto show in Chicago took place in 1901. Interestingly, back then this event was called the National Automobile Exhibit. This first show only had 65 vehicles on display. Compare that to the nearly 1,000 cars featured today!

2.  The Chicago Auto Show floor is built on top of railroad tracks. Therefore, in order to make the floor more stable, two suspension bridge towers were built. These structures help the south hall bridge the railroad tracks. Eventually, these support devices were made into food pods where people can eat right on the show floor. Speaking of food, the Chicago Auto Show was the first to implement the concept of serving food on the actual show floor. This was such a success that this idea was implemented by auto shows across the country.

3. There is a restaurant inside of McCormick Place near the North Hall of the Chicago Auto Show called 23rd Street Café. The name of this eatery is significant because 23rd street in Chicago used to be where McCormick Place is today.  

These are just a few historical facts that make the Chicago Auto Show and McCormick Place unique. I love visiting the Chicago Auto Show each year and am excited I got to learn something new about the show this year. 

- Allison Appelbaum, Chicago Auto Show Intern 

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