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Weird Laws and Fun Facts About Chicago

Dec 25th, 2019

You may have heard about some strange laws floating around in the law books of Illinois. There are strange laws in every state, actually, like this list of weird laws and facts about Los Angeles. The city of Chicago has some crazy laws of its own that seem completely outdated, so it’s a good thing they barely ever get enforced. In most cases, these laws are so ridiculous and obscure that they are simply ignored. After all, it’s not easy to arrest someone for fishing in men’s pajamas (yes, that’s a real law!).

Here are some of the weirdest laws in Chicago and in Illinois.

  • Wheelbarrows with “for sale” signs on them are not allowed to get chained to a tree in Des Plaines. If you live in our Evanston Apartments, then don’t make the short drive out if you’re looking for some landscaping gear.
  • If you’re thinking of trying out your soap-making skills in Normal, think again! It’s illegal to make soap unless you have a license. 
  • This may sound like common sense, but it’s against the law to eat in a building that’s on fire in Chicago. Go figure.
  • Just in case you were planning on doing this in Chicago this weekend, it’s against the law to sit on the neck of a giraffe and go fishing at the same time.
  • It’s illegal for a rooster to crow within 300 feet of a residence in Kenilworth
  • It’s against the law to stand on the sidewalk of Illinois Avenue on the 500 block in Carbondale.
  • “No ice skating in summer!” say the Moline law books. It’s illegal to ice skate at Riverside Pond from June to August.
  • Sorry, cats and dogs, but it’s illegal for anyone to give a lit cigar to a domesticated animal in Zion. It’s also illegal to give dogs whiskey in Chicago.
  • Boy’s can throw snowballs in Mount Pulaski, but girls can’t. 
  • Cars are not to be driven through town in Crete, Illinois.
  • If your French poodle is a fan of the finer arts, then too bad. Chicago has outlawed French poodles from the opera. It’s a tragedy, we know.
  • Make sure to keep some cash on you wherever you go, as it’s illegal to be caught with less than $1 in cash on Chicago streets. Apparently, you could be a vagrant in Chicago if you don’t carry cash with you. 
  • It seems as though Galesburg has quite the reputation of a well-maintained neighborhood! It’s illegal to keep smelly dogs, burn bird feathers, jostle others and, of course, practice any sort of fancy bicycle tricks on the street. 
  • Oh, and you could also be slapped with a $1000 fine for beating a rat with a baseball bat in Galesburg, too.

Here are some fun facts about Chicago that you may not have known.

  • You can see four states from the top of the Willis Tower, the second-tallest skyscraper in the United States (after the One World Trade Center in New York City). From the top, you can see into Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

  • Spray paint was invented in Sycamore, Illinois in 1949 by a paint salesman named Ed Seymour. Seymour’s paint company, based just 60 miles outside Chicago, initially used the paint-filled spray can as a demonstrative tool to show what the paint colors would look like when applied to surfaces.
  • The beloved Twinkie was invented in Schiller Park outside Chicago in 1930 by a baker named James Alexander Dewar who worked for the Continental Baking Company. Dewar realized that the machines used to make strawberry shortcakes would sit unused for months in between strawberry seasons, so he concocted a new banana-filled cake which he named “Twinkies,” presumably after a billboard outside the bakery which read “Twinkle Toe Shoes.” When the banana supply ran short during World War II, the banana filling was replaced with vanilla cream. Thus, the Twinkies we know today were born.
  • The first all-color TV channel in the world was ushered in on April 15, 1956 at Chicago’s NBC WMAQ-TV station. 
  • The only backwards-flowing river in the world runs through Downtown Chicago, right near our River North apartments and Printers Row apartments. The Chicago River originally flowed into Lake Michigan, but after a storm dumped polluted water into the lake in 1885, plans to reverse the flow began. Chicago residents drew their drinking water from the lake, so reversing the river stopped diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery from entering their water. The river was eventually re-routed to flow West toward the Des Plaines River, just 20 minutes from our Woodridge apartments by Seven Bridges.

    I could try and explain how it all worked, what with the extension, straightening and other scientific terms commonly associated with river reversal, but instead I’ll just put this handy video here to show you exactly what happened.
  • The first televised presidential debate happened in Chicago on September 26, 1960. The debate between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon made history that night, forever changing the way presidential candidates debate.

    Those who listened to the radio broadcast were sure that Nixon either won or tied the debate, as both candidates were skilled speakers and very knowledgeable about their agendas.

    However, the addition of television cameras changed the game completely. Kennedy wore makeup and a dark suit to stand out against the gray set, and he looked straight into the camera as if addressing the public directly. Nixon was pale, hadn’t shaved, addressed reporters to the side of the cameras and was on the recovering end of a long sickness. Kennedy’s tan and charismatic appearance on television gave him an edge that many said convinced them to vote for the senator in the election.

    Check out the historic video here! 

These fun facts about Chicago and the area surrounding it are just the tips of the iceberg that is the history of the Windy City. Hopefully, these weird laws and interesting tidbits make you love your city all the more!


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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/12019

Second photo courtesy Pixabay/ferobanjo

Third photo courtesy Pixabay/suju

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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