Thursday, January 10, 2013

Welcome To Uptown, 1976

Here's a glimpse of our community in March 1976, when Uptown still included the area between Foster and Devon (Edgewater didn't secede, creating its own official community area, until 1980).  It was a time when Hazel and Montrose was known as "Hooker Alley."  When the new "Northeast Campus of the Chicago City Colleges" was still under construction on Wilson.  When the Sun-Times described it as "a lost neighborhood" that was "going down" in its Sunday magazine.

A reader found this yellowing magazine and scanned it for us.  Each page is 1000 pixels wide, so it should be easily read (click each image to enlarge or download).  Fascinating portrait of Uptown during a very gloomy period in its history.

Update:  If you have problems seeing the .jpgs, try downloading it from Scribd as a PDF file, here.


  1. 30+ years later and little has changed

  2. Perhaps my BAC(blood alcohol content) has something to do with it, but even after downloading these pages I'm unable to read them.

    As for Alek's comment it is unworthy of a response as it is demonstrably false.


  3. Alek, that's really an revealing view into your head and Eeyore worldview. I think everything has changed. I'm sure the folks in 1976 Uptown just loved going to restaurants with Cordon Bleu chefs, like Baker and Nosh and Ceres' Table. I'm sure they were screaming about too much gentrification. Actually, I think they were too busy with all the dive bars and burned out empty lots, and so many arsons that a firehouse was built to handle them. Our Uptown, where people complain scream about ZOMG! another franchise restaurant coming to Uptown, have town meetings about whether or not multi-million-dollar high-rises should be allowed to be built, where the prospect of a festival on the lakefront causes gasps of horror----- that Uptown would be unimaginable to the people in the article in 1976.

  4. I'm an eeeeeejit.

    Open up this post by itself.

    Click on a particular page and hen click "open link in new tab".

    It embiggens it and itz redadablllle.


  5. Yah Alex, you are an Eeyore. Sure Uptown has it's problem but what urban neighborhood is perfect and lacks hookers and gangs? We finally have leadership who thinks differently and wants the community to grow and gentrify. It's time you start being a tigger about things like that!!

  6. I don't live in Uptown, but I do remember what it was like growing up there. I feel that the article was pretty accurate. I got out of Uptown through military service and haven't lived in Chicago since. I love to visit and walk the streets admitting to myself that it still fees like home and that I belong here for some unknown reason.

  7. Wow... so much has changed.

  8. OK, even follow IPs instructions, I STILL cant enlarge and read this article... argh

  9. USH,

    right click on the page you want. Hit open new tab.

    It opens.

    Then left click and it should get bigger.

    Think of my advice as viagra for the internet challenged masses.

  10. Where is the hair shop I can go to so that I too can look like an aged Eddie Munster/Captain Stubing?

  11. Yes, Alek it has changed I lived here in 76 and it's of course very different but there is still a lot of suffering going on.

    BUt it's a much better place to live than then. That's for sure no matter who you are.

  12. I spent years in uptown and I can tell you this when I left back in 1990 not much had changed. I will say this I had some amazing friends that were always there for me. People want to say all kind of bad things but you never hear the good that came out of that area. Yes I hung around the gang bangers as some would call and yes most of them were my friends. It was a hard life for some and we all tired to be there for one another. I will agree there was some pretty hard times and yes a lot of us lost some really good friends to drugs, Aids and alot of other stuff. People make that area out to be so bad but they never stopped to come around and ask us how our time has been living there when we did. I get so tired of hearing this and that about that area but never stopping to understand that some of the people I grew up with was all we had. Yes ok some of the gangs was pretty hard core but let me tell you why.. People would always come in to that area and act so much better then the ones that had to live there. WE didn't pick on anyone unless they started it first. I am grown now with a family of my own but I will never forget the great times I had growing up in Uptown. I lost a great many friends to things that well I will just keep that to my self but I can promise you this the ones I lost in my heart will never be forgotten.