• Chuck Szmurlo
  • Rosenwald Hall, University of Chicago

More neighborhood nuggets from Sweet Home Chicago 2, published by Chicago Review Press in 1977. Here’s the entry for Hyde Park:

Chauvinistic, isolated, and self-consciously intellectual, Hyde Park is dominated—some would say controlled—by the University of Chicago.

The neighborhood, which borders the lake front from 51st to 59th Streets and extends west to Washington Park, used to be a bohemian enclave, a tourist attraction for northsiders in search of a Saturday night thrill. Fifty-fifth Street was famous for its bars, where the jazz greats of the bebop era appeared; an artists’ and writers’ colony flourished here in the mid-1950s with the Compass Players and the Second City company. But there’s nothing bohemian about Hyde Park now, thanks to a university-backed urban renewal project that replaced most of the seedy, low-rent apartment buildings and storefronts with expensive townhouses and suburban-style shopping centers. The encircling black ghetto was kept at bay. Hyde Park remained a middle and upper-class preserve, and Grey Line busses began bringing tourists down to see “Chicago’s only stable, successfully integrated neighborhood.”