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The Loop refers to the business district located just south of the main stem of the Chicago River. Although Chicagoans do not agree on the origin of the Loop’s name, it is said to have derived from a streetcar from the 1880s or the CTA “El” tracks that looped through the city. The Loop was the place where the strands powering cable cars turned around on a pulley in the center of the city. The concept was then extended to the ring of elevated rail tracks for rapid transit lines that connected the downtown area to the neighborhoods. The lines were completed in 1897 and created the intracity transportation system that is still used to this day. The placement of the nineteenth-century railroad depots couldn’t have been better. They were located at the edges of the central business district, creating a circle of stations around the hub of the city.
As the city’s business center, the Loop hosts some of the largest corporations, including, Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which is the world’s largest options and futures contracts open interest exchange; the headquarters of United Continental Holdings, one of the world’s largest airlines, AON, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and many more major corporations.