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Plot & Details

"Mudhole to Metropolis" is part one of American Experience: Chicago - City of the Century, based on the book by Don Miller. David Ogden Stiers narrates. The story begins in 1673, when French explorers took a canoe up the Illinois River and found a smelly marshland that the Indians called Chicagoua. The French chose not to settle there and the area was used as a fur trading post until the 1800s. When the Erie Canal was finished, the marsh was a good way to link the Mississippi to the Great Lakes. By 1833, the Potawatomi tribe was forced out and white men from New England bought up the land. Then the Irish immigrants who had dug the Erie Canal arrived looking for work. The city's first mayor, William Butler Ogden, helped make Chicago the world's largest railroad hub, lumber market, and grain port. The city experienced an economic boom until the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Over three miles of the city was destroyed. This program was originally broadcast on PBS in January of 2003.

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