city, Cook county, northeastern Illinois, U.S. It is a suburb of Chicago, about 30 miles (50 km) south of downtown. The city's name derives from its proximity to Chicago and its elevation, which averages 95 feet (29 metres) above the surrounding area. The site was the intersection of two trails, the Hubbard (from Vincennes, Indiana, to Fort Dearborn on the Chicago River) and the Sauk (used by Native Americans going from their hunting grounds to the fur post at Detroit, Michigan). Settled by Scotch-Irish in the 1830s and known as Thorn Grove, it was renamed Bloom in 1849 by German immigrants to honour a German patriot executed in 1848 in Vienna. It was given its present name at its incorporation as a village in 1892. In the late 19th century the city was settled by large numbers of Italian immigrants. The Chicago Heights Land Association induced manufacturers to establish factories there, drawing immigrants from throughout Europe. Chicago Heights was the earliest and, for a time, the most important of the steel-making communities in the Chicago area. The city's manufactures are now highly diversified; in addition to steel, manufactures include automobile-body stampings, railroad freight cars, automotive parts, and chemicals. The city is the seat of Prairie State (community) College (founded in 1957 as Bloom Township Community College). Inc. city, 1901. Pop. (1990) 33,072; (2000) 32,776.
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