Chicago Loop

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The Loop or The Chicago Loop are the terms used to designate the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago. It is the seat of government for Chicago and Cook County, as well as the historic theater and shopping district (including, "State Street, that great street"). Chicago's central business district community area is bounded on the west and north by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Roosevelt Road, although the commercial core has expanded into adjacent community areas.

It is believed the origin of the term "loop" [1] is derived from the cable car turning loops in the central business district, and especially those of two lines that shared a loop, constructed in 1882, bounded by Madison, Wabash, State, and Lake.[2] However, transportation historian Bruce Moffat, after extensive research of the issue, concluded that "the Loop" was not used as a proper noun until after Yerkes's 1895–97 construction of the Union elevated railway loop.[3] As defined in social research done by the University of Chicago in the 1920s, the Loop is a defined community area of Chicago. The community area includes Grant Park and one of the largest art museums in the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago. Other major cultural institutions that call this area home include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Goodman Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, the central public Harold Washington Library, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

In what is now the Loop Community Area, on the southern banks of the Chicago River, near today's Michigan Avenue Bridge, the U.S. Army erected Fort Dearborn in 1803. It was the first settlement in the area sponsored by the United States.


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