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Friday
Sep102010

our neighborhoods: lincoln park

photo courtesy of: egotechnique.photo courtesy of: southie3

The neighborhood of Lincoln Park was once native, mid-western prairielands scattered with Indian settlements. When Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, CB2 Lincoln Park may have been just out of bounds at 800 W. North Avenue—on the northside of the boundary street.

Illinois being the birthplace and ‘Land of Lincoln’, the park was named in his honor not long after his assassination. Framed by Diversey Parkway and North Avenue on the north and south, and the Chicago River and Lake Michigan to the west and east, the area still includes acres of parklands—Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

In the 1920’s and 30s, Chicago acquired its gangster reputation since the notorious Al Capone and John Dillinger called it home. For the filming of “Public Enemies” in 2008, the Biograph Theater—where Dillinger watched “Manhattan Melodrama” the night he was shot—and a stretch of Lincoln Avenue were brought back in time for the true to life shoot-out finale between Johnny Depp and Christian Bale with Marion Cottilard in the wings. Long gone were the midnight runs of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with a costumed audience waiting to participate.

In 1974, The Steppenwolf Theatre Company—whose name came from a book one of the founders read—performed their first plays in a northern suburb. In 1991, its current home was built in the backyard of CB2 and they often use our furniture on stage. Known for its thought-provoking scripts, many of the nine original members—including Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney, Laurie Metcalf and John Malkovich—are still involved and sometimes perform with the company.

The Second City—where Blues Brothers Dan Akryod and John Belushi performed improv—is where many comedians got their start, including Jim Belushi, Bill Murray, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, John Candy, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Dan Castellaneta, Chris Farley, Steve Carell, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Jane Lynch…

Farther east, just before Lake Shore Drive and the North Avenue Beaches, is the Chicago Historical Museum. It’s a treasure trove of historical information, home to sports jerseys worn by Michael Jordan and Ernie Banks, and features objects that aren’t just about Chicago—they’re items that originated here which later became classic national brands. Including the Veg-O-Matic (1961), Rock-Ola juke box (1950), Lava Lites (1970), and—invented by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright—Lincoln Logs (1955).

photo courtesy of: (nutmeg)photo courtesy of: whgrad

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