Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sun-Times: "Uptown’s Hillbilly Past Lives On
at Carol’s Pub"

Photo from KiwiThing at Flickr
The Sun-Times has a huge article on Carol's Pub and its history today -- four pages with photos.  Here's an excerpt:
“This neighborhood was all about jobs,” says McKeehan, who lived in Chicago between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s. “My dad went through World War II, came back and wasn’t going to work in a coal mine. He had seen other things. He was going to get a factory job. The ’billies came to Chicago. The reason they ended up in Uptown is how they split up big old houses and apartment buildings into smaller apartments. Guys would share an apartment and send the money home like Latin American immigrants do now. Uptown got a reputation for being an Appalachian-friendly neighborhood.

“It was all about getting out of coal mines, getting out of poverty.”

The ’billies flexed their hardworking muscle at dozens of Uptown honky-tonks.

Sharon’s Hillbilly Heaven was across the street from the Aragon Ballroom, and its wall paneling featured embedded depictions of pine trees, deers and pheasants. Bartenders wore gym whistles to keep law and order. The Lakeview Lounge was at 5110 N. Broadway, a dimly lit outpost for the hillbilly migration that had settled on Argyle Street.

These places are gone.

And Carol’s plays on.

Here's a link to the whole article.  A fun read, particularly if you're interested in Uptown's more recent history.


  1. Wow. That Jimmy was involved in a stabbing there about a year or so ago. It seems like he is a cat with nine lives.

  2. The little read local newspaper NEW CITY has some Uptown links and one specifically dealing with Appalachian Uptown.


  3. This article is nothing to brag about. As a matter of fact it's discussing. If you were a uptown resident in the 70's as I was you would no what I'm talking about. I won't go into further details as my post would NOT be here.

  4. Uptown has a proud progressive past politically... but it is also a gritty past. And don't forget the Wooden Nickle Bar... it was just across the street from Truman College. I remember a car going through the front of it once in the late 70s or early 80s.

  5. I used to go there in the early 80's, close the place... i think it was about four or five a.m., and then we'd all jump into whomever drove, and head out to Cicero to finish partying!! The bars in Cicero NEVER closed!!

  6. There's a documentary called "American Revolution 2" that Facets Media on Fullerton re-released a few years ago. It's available on Netflix. The first part of the movie deals with the 1968 Democratic convention riots and a later part deals with Black Panters coming to Uptown to organize the "Young Patriots".

    The YP's were people of no color and of Appalachian origin. Hillbillies if you will or mountain Irish if you prefer. I haven't seen it for years, but the YP's in the movie were complaining about being pushed out of the neighborhood by "rich" people and police brutality. Forty odd years later and the complaints are the same.

    One scene I remember vividly is the Police District Commander addressing the group and answering questions. He spoke with a heavy Chicago ACCENT and was clearly of Irish origin. He was speaking of how the name "Young Patriots" made him proud in a red, white and blue sorta way and how the pinkos and commies were ruining America. It's surreal watching. In one scene the Panthers and YP's are talking about offing the "pigs" and killing the landlords and in the next Commander Shamrock is talking about pinkos.

    Pick that up and "Medium Cool" and get a glimpse into the Uptown of yore.

    Here's some scenes off Youtube.

    Panthers and Patriots.

    Convention footage.