Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bob Rehak Compares 1970s Uptown To Today

As you may know, photographer Robert Rehak returned to Uptown for the first time since the mid-1970s last week. He was on TV a couple times (WGN and WTTW) promoting his book of 1970s Uptown photographs, but said the "most exhilarating" experience was returning to the Uptown branch library to speak last Thursday.

Some of the subjects of his photographs were there, and he was glad to meet current Uptowners as well, many of whom had questions about what the neighborhood was like during his time he was photographing it. We recommend reading his blog post about his impressions of today's Uptown as compared with the one of the 1970s.

This part really resonated:
"I was shocked by how much Uptown today has improved compared to what it was in the mid-1970s. The burned out buildings, bars, pawnshops and resale shops that defined Uptown in the mid-1970s are virtually gone. So are the litter, graffiti, abandoned cars, and run down houses. In their place are nice new buildings and trees – lots of trees. The businesses I visited seemed to be busy and prosperous. I sensed optimism and hope in the people I talked to. Property values seemed to be improving.

That’s a tribute to all those who never gave up on Uptown and saw something worth saving. It took a lot of hard work, vision, faith, creativity and dedication to make those improvements.

Uptown had a glorious past. Whether up or down, it has always been one of Chicago’s most unique and storied neighborhoods."

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