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Chicago North Side

Uptown Hot-town?

Why is Uptown called Uptown? “savvy marketing,” according to John Schmidt in an article written for WBEZ’s Chicago’s History Today.

“The name tried to put the community on the same level as Downtown, aka the Loop.” wrote Schmidt.

Uptown was known in the 1920’s for its plethora of entertainment venues, many of which are now shut down.

Two that remain from that era, The Aragon Ballroom, The Green Mill, are seeing a resurgence in attendance and popularity.

In the 1970’s, the crime wave hit Uptown and growth slowed. Today it is a highly diverse community.

“Uptown is home to 56,000 people. One of Chicago’s more diverse communities, the population is identified as 52 percent white, 20 percent black, 14 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian.” according to Schmidt.

While the neighborhood is not currently renowned for its cultural and social engagements, it is taking clear steps to reinvigorate its once highly-valued entertainment status.

Pegasus Players, who, for a short time were faced with having to move out of the Hull House at 4520 N. Beacon St., have found a potential new location.

Their forced move out of the Hull House had drawn up much community criticism as Alderman Cappleman continue to make new development plans for the area.

Chicago Uptown Lakefront Carnival and Entertainment Festival was recently approved to be held this coming August 1-4 at the lakefront between Wilson and Lawrence. It touts free admission, with proceeds benefiting  police and fire departments, “as well as local churches, schools, and various non-profits.” according to the website.

Increasing Uptown’s cultural offerings will help put Uptown on the map as a Chicago hotspot.

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