This chapter details the reconstruction of Chicago following the Great Fire. Chicago grew faster than any American city through the depression-scarred 1870s. By 1880 its population reached half a million, nearly doubling in size since the Fire. In 1879 just under 1100 new buildings were constructed in the city, but in 1883 there were over 4000. The city's building code, developed in the conservative years of the depression, came under increasing pressure as the motive to build higher returned with new investment. The emergence of the tall skyscraper was gradual, and the convergence of Chicago skyscrapers toward remarkably similar composition, proportions, and even detail occurred in several loosely defined steps between the end of the “hard times” around 1879 and the flourishing of what was called the “Chicago Style” or “Chicago Construction” of the late 1880s.
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