On October 8th, 1871 a cow caused the greatest fire America has ever seen.
Or, so they say.
Experts are still in a hot debate whether it’s folklore or an unlikely truth. For the sake of entertainment, we’ll pretend that there is no question… that the story we are about to share with you is nothing but the truth backed by cold hard facts.
It wasn’t just any cow. It was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. In fact, Mrs. O’Leary was milking the cow at the time.
It was dark so she had a lantern to light her way. She set the lantern down. The clumsy cow kicked it over. The fire lit the hay and the hay lit the barn and the barn went up in flames.
Minutes go by and other buildings begin to catch fire. Hours go by and even more buildings begin to catch fire. Days go by and Chicago, Illinois which had just recently surpassed St. Louis as the fourth largest city in the United States had been burnt to the ground.
Three hundred people perished and 100,000 homes were nothing but ash and dust. It was one of the most chaotic moments in human history, all caused by the poor footing of some clumsy cow…
Don’t you fret, though. Since this tragic event so long ago, the city of Chicago has nearly 10xed in size and today sits at an astounding 2.7 million people, making it the third largest city in the United States.
That’s something to respect. Nearly a third of its city was burnt to a crisp and over the next hundred years it figured out a way to not only rebuild but grow by leaps and bounds. Chicago, in so many ways, is like a phoenix that has risen from the ashes.
Today, it’s one of the greatest cities in the United States housing some of the toughest and most brilliant minds the Midwest and the nation as a whole have to offer.
And, while there is certainly more to Illinois than Chicago… that’s where we’ll be focusing most of our attention today because let’s face it… if you’re considering moving to the state you’ve at the very least taken a hard look at the giant that sits on Lake Michigan. Correct us if we’re wrong, though.
Before we dive into this wonderful city and its neighbors who are quite wonderful too, let’s explore a brief overview of the state (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—movers in Illinois and throughout the country).
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Besides Chicago… Illinois has a few other claims to fame. For one, it was the very first state to abolish slavery and it was where Abraham Lincoln lived for a couple of decades of his life. Additionally, Illinois was and still is home to the world’s very first McDonald’s.
Illinois’s landscape leaves something to be desired (but that’s okay).
The state as a whole is extremely flat and as we mentioned previously 85% corn. Definitely not the most attractive of landscapes for outdoorsmen (or outdoorswomen) looking for a state with plenty to do outside. With that said, in southern Illinois, you can find Garden of The Gods… sort of a random hidden gem in the state offering some of the most beautiful hiking and sights in the country. But, if you’re planning on moving to Chicago, this would be quite the trek.
Like every other state out there, Illinois has some great aspects about it and some not so great ones. We don’t want you to run into any surprises when you make your jump. So, we’re going to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of moving to this midwestern state. We will go ahead and kick things off with the pros because we try to keep a positive attitude here at Bellhops.
The pros of moving to Illinois really come down to having the opportunity to live in one of the most impressive cities in the United States, Chicago. Very few states have cities so large they almost feel like states in and of themselves and Illinois is one of these rare few.
With that said, there are certainly a few cons that might make Illinois the wrong state for you. For one, there are very little to no choices when it comes to medium to larger sized cities (besides Chicago). If you’re wanting to move to a state with plenty of cities to choose from, check out Texas which sports great cities like Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. If you’re looking for a big city in Illinois, you have just one choice. That’s it.
In addition, to this poor selection, the weather in Illinois is brutal… bone chillingly brutal. Temperatures in Chicago, for example, dropped to negative 23 degrees freezing this past winter… thank goodness that’s over.
With that said, Illinois is known for having beautiful mild summers. So, if you can weather the cold, you’re in for a treat come spring and summer.
We’ve taken a look at a brief overview of the state and have talked about the pros and the cons of living in Illinois. Now, let’s take a look at what we’ve all been waiting for… the green. In this section, we’re going to explore the cost of living in Illinois, the job opportunity and the overall growth.
The cost of living in Illinois as a whole is affordable. Rent in the state is $974, about $40 below the average rent in the United States. Chicago, Illinois’ largest city, is where things start getting pricey. The average apartment rent in Chicago clocks in at around $1,800 a month. That’s pretty pricey. But, hear us out. Many people are scared to move to Chicago because of the price, which is a very fair concern.
But, when you compare Chicago to other larger cities in the United States –– Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco –– it is very reasonable. The average rent in Chicago clocks in at around $1,800 a month. The average rent in Los Angeles is $2,371… the average rent in Manhattan, New York City is $4,100… the average rent in San Francisco is $3,600.
So, in comparison to equally large cities, Chicago presents a very affordable opportunity for someone to live in one of America’s greatest cities without decimating their wallet.
Illinois, believe it or not, is 85% corn. No. We aren’t making that up. 85% of the state is covered in corn fields. While many people who think of Illinois, think of Chicago (something that would never be thrown in the same sentence as corn)… much of Illinois’ economy consists of agriculture.
And corn isn’t the only major player int he agriculture space. Morton, a small town in Illinois is responsible for producing 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin. That’s crazy.
Both manufacturing and mining are large industries in Illinois, too.
Now, Chicago is obviously a much different story. Over the past decade, the city has become a major player in the tech and startup space. Just peruse Angel.co and you’ll find countless new innovative companies looking for roles ranging from sales to developing.
So, while Illinois as a whole might not offer a ton of opportunity for young professionals looking to make a name for themselves, there is certainly opportunity in Chicago.
For one, it’s by far the most ethnically diverse city in the midwest, which gives you a vibrant culture with some of the best food ever. Not to mention, it’s home to tons of professional sports teams… The Black Hawks, The White Sox, The Bulls, The Cubs, and The Bears. We know, we had to do a double take too. That’s a lot.
And, if you aren’t into sports and prefer music and the arts… Chicago has countless shows on any given night and tons of pop-up art shows and creative events throughout the city. You simply can’t beat it, no matter what your interests are.
Illinois is a great state with a gem in Chicago. And, while we don’t service the smaller cities in Illinois, if Chicago is on your radar, we can help get you there. That’s what we do here at Bellhops, help wonderful people like yourself move into their home or apartment (or treehouse, whatever floats your boat). We wish you the very best of luck as you pinpoint your new home and don’t forget… we’re just a call away.
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