HISTORY

When O’Hare Was a Farming Village

Before O'Hare was an airport, it was a farming village


It’s hard to imagine anything standing on the 7,200 acres where O’Hare International Airport sits except the sprawling airport. But imagine you must, as O’Hare, a.k.a. the world’s busiest airport, was once a — ready for this? — a farming village.

Yes, O’Hare was once called Orchard Place, a small farming community settled by German immigrants in the 1840s. It was originally called Farwell, but when it became a stop on the Wisconsin Central Railroad, its name changed to Orchard Place. In 1942, the site was chosen for a new air base called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. Chicago bought the land from the U.S. government in 1946 and transformed it into a commercial airport called Chicago Orchard Field. It became O’Hare in 1949. Can you see why the airport’s code is ORD? Starts to make a little more sense now, no? Thanks to Calumet412.com for letting us use the photo.

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