01/30/2014 05:22 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2014

Gulp! How Chicago Gobbled Its Neighbors

Chicago History Museum via Getty Images

At its start, Chicago was a marshy outpost of hearty settlers who used the convergence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to their benefit.

Now the city spans approximately 237 square miles. Many of its nearly 2.7 million residents live far enough from both the lake and river that the economic drivers and geographic anchors are out of sight, out of mind.

Curious Citizen Jim Padden grew up in Beverly — one of the far flung neighborhoods in the southwestern corner of Chicago. He always wondered why his community was part of the city when others closer to the Loop (such as west suburban Oak Park) maintained their independence.

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