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UPTOWN!!!If you want diversity, the neighborhood of Uptown in Chicago is the place (as of the beginning of the year 2002). 

Here, you can always find someone who is very different from you, and yet you can also find someone who is very similar to you as well. You will find a few people who hate you (mainly because you represent a quality or group of people they despise--much more subtle than racial prejudice), but you can also find someone you can sincerely trust.  

 Uptown's diversity is not necessarily racial & economic harmony--more like a detente between a couple major groups, and many others caught somewhere in-between.  You might be able to see that if you attend meetings of Uptown's many community groups.  One life-long resident jokes about Uptown Community meetings where you play the game of "Find the Hidden Agenda." 

Yet at the same time, everyone in Uptown speaks at least one grain of truth, even if it is hidden in anger or other (literal) mental illness.  If you read the news or listen to extremists, you would think that people fall into two main categories in Uptown.  The truth is, most Uptown residents fall somewhere in between, and would rather connect with you than fight with you.

Geographically, Uptown is located on the North Side of Chicago, next to Lake Michigan. The boundaries are [approximately] from Irving Park Road north to Foster Avenue, and from Ashland Avenue to Lake Michigan (In Street Numbers: 4000 North to 5200 North, by 1600 West to approximately 10 blocks east or until you start drowning). Uptown includes areas which don't always want to be associated with the name Uptown, such as Buena Park and Sheridan Park. (The name of "Uptown" has a stigma, especially for real estate agents).  Click here for a map

Neighboring neighborhoods include Lake View/ Wrigleyville to the South (where many new residents are coming from), Rogers Park (far North Chicago neighborhood where many long-time residents are forced to move to), Edgewater (to the immediate north; this neighborhood seceded from Uptown in the 70's), and Ravenswood to the West. 

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People of Uptown

We've got people from many ethnic backgrounds (Southeast Asian, African [especially Nigerian and Ethiopian], Hispanic, Indian, Russian and even token generic white people--i'm culturally one of those people), economic statuses (CHA/HUD high rises are just a couple of blocks away from upper middle class houses), philosophical & religious beliefs (Jesus People U.S.A. [a modern commune of Christians, "hippies for Jesus" if you will], Street Preachers (tm), street people, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhist Temples, homosexuals, political activists, political apathists) and mental/emotional/social states (including mentally ill, elderly, homeless, alcohol/drug addicts, gangbangers). The previous examples are facts, no judgment implied.

How diverse is Uptown?

Uptown Population 1990 Census (number) 1990 Census (percent of neighborhood) 2000 Census (number) 2000 Census (percent of neighborhood)
African-American / Black 15,134   23.71% 13,415 21.11%
Asian 8,859   13.88 % 8,255 12.99%
Hispanic 14,398   22.55 % 12,674 19.94%
American Indian 539    0.84 %  255 0.40%
European-American / White 24,743 38.76 % 26,784 42.15%
Other/Multiracial(2000) 166   .26% 2,168 3.41%
TOTAL 63,839   100%



Note: The 2000 census allowed the option for those of us of multiracial background to note that on the Census (rather than having to choose ONLY white, black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.). Also: Uptown consists of the following Chicago Census Tracts: 310-321. Tracts 310, 318 and 319 are also a part of the "Ravenswood neighborhood".  

Now compare the census racial statistics with the school statistics for Joan F.Arai Middle School, Uptown's local junior high (6th, 7th, 8th grades).  The statistics can be found at the Chicago Sun-Times education web site. These statistics are similar to those of Uptown Elementary schools, such as Stewart, Stockton, McCutcheon, and Brenneman. 
White Enrollment 3.7% 9.9% 61.1%
Black Enrollment 55.2% 52.3% 20.9%
Hispanic Enrollment 30.0% 34.4% 14.6%
Asian Enrollment 10.5% 3.2% 3.3%
Native American Enrollment 0.5% 0.2% 0.2%
Attendance Rate 91.5% 91.6% 93.9%
Dropout Rate 0.0% 15.7% 5.8%
Limited-English Proficiency 16.0% 13.7% 6.1%
Low Income 93.8% 85.6% 36.7%
Mobility Rate 43.6% 26.6% 17.5%
No. of Chronic Truants 18 17,241 45,109
Chronic Truancy Rate 3.2% 4.3% 2.4%
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE School District Illinois
Sixth Grade 12.3 25.0 23.9
Eighth Grade 14.6 25.6 22.9


Units of housing


Units of housing


Vacant Units


Vacant Units


Units of rentals


Units of rentals


Units of owner- occupied


Units of owner- occupied


31,956 32,440 3,933 1,807 23,712 23,279 4,311 7,354


So what does this show us? 


The ethnic diversity of Uptown seems to have flipped with Rogers Park, located two neighborhoods north of Uptown (Rogers Park, as well as Albany Park [west of Uptown], is where much of Uptown's diversity is moving to, due to increased housing prices in Uptown). Compare the Uptown changes with Rogers Park:

Rogers Park Population

1990 Census (number)

1990 Census (percent of neighborhood)

2000 Census (number)

2000 Census (percent of neighborhood)
African-American / Black 15,885 26.31% 18,767 29.56%
Asian 5,100 8.45 % 4,110 6.47%
Hispanic 12,005 19.88% 17,639 27.78%
American Indian 226  .37% 194 .31%
European-American / White 27,030 44.77% 20,170 31.77%
Other/Multiracial(2000) 132 .22% 2604 4.10%
TOTAL 60,378  100%



Note: Rogers Park consists of Census Tracts 101-109.


U.S. Census Data stored at University of Chicago, http://www.chas.uchicago.edu/data/illinois/census/chicago/stf1a.chgoca3.html


With this diversity of backgrounds come diversity of opinions. What's yours?

Please leave your opinion in the Uptown Message Forum 

Some other features of Uptown include the architecture, history, and the many Festivals, such as Unity Fest, and the Japanese Natsu Matsuri festival at the end of June, as well as social & spiritual services which address the many needs in Uptown, as well as educate others about the needs of this world, as represented in Uptown. Emmaus Ministries is a prime example of such a ministry. Also, you can e-mail O.N.E. (Organization of the NorthEast), a coalition of these services in the Uptown & surrounding area. Also, Uptown abounds with artists and musicians, such as GreenChoby and Andy Young.

i have volunteered at Asian Youth Services. AYS (at 4750 N. Sheridan Road rm 476-478) serves primarily Cambodian, Vietnamese and Laotian children in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago (but no willing participant is turned away; all are welcome. However, gangbanging and other illegal and/or immoral activity is frowned upon).
Activities include: tutoring, mentoring, martial arts, piano, and lots of love from the director, Shari Fenton.
For more information, call Shari Fenton [voice mail] at 773/506-0766 (or me, too--j.p.@773/784-5640). The center is generally open Monday-Friday 2:30pm-7pm, with a Saturday reading program 10am-12pm


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Culture & History of Uptown

We've also got a number of historic sites, such as the 4000+ seat Uptown Theater, the Aragon Ballroom, the Green Mill Jazz Lounge, the Equator Club, the former Essanay Movie Studios (where movies were made before Hollywood existed; the Studios are now St. Augustine College), Graceland Cemetery and other places of interest.

Here's a link which tells more about Chicago in general: Chicago Linx

    A Brief history of Uptown

  • 1920's: Way back when Uptown was Uptown. Just before Hollywood gained its foothold, Essanay Studios was the headquarters for the motion picture industry.
  • 1930's: Uptown was a part of the Al Capone era --and the Great Depression...
  • 1940's: The end of WWII brought economic success to the nation, but not necessarily to this neighborhood.
  • 1950's: White Flight begins as Uptown goes down.
  • 1960's: Appalachians become a part of the Uptown population; strip clubs and other seedy activity become the trademark of Uptown. The neighborhood is considered to be at its lowest point by the end of the decade.
  • 1970's: The end of the Vietnam war brings refugees to the U.S., who begin to help develop Argyle street and the surrounding area. Also, the mentally ill are released to the streets.
  • 1980's: Cambodian refugees begin to move into Uptown, as do other immigrant groups, such as Ethiopians.
  • 1990's: Many more groups move to Uptown: Hispanics, Russians, Nigerians, and yes even Yuppies. The battle between rich & poor intensifies, displayed in the aftermath of two nearby fires. 5 acres of land become a major issue for two distinct camps.
  • 2000 & beyond: Will Uptown become a trendy home for a (mostly) white upper class (with fewer minorities concentrated in certain buildings)? Or will Uptown preserve its diversity? Who knows...?
Click here ==>for more history of Uptown, especially in the 20's.

Uptown (especially the Green Mill Lounge, close to where i live) has been featured in films like "A Family Thing" (starring James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall) and "Soul Food". Go watch them (they're on video)!
Also, a shoot-out scene for "The Negotiator" was filmed by my block. Go support Uptown-filmed movies!

For "soon-to-be history", (in other words, news), check out Inside newspaper. Lots of good local coverage.
Also, check out The News-Star . It has information ranging from education to the police blotter.


More News about Uptown

The news of today will become the history of tomorrow.  So what's coming up?

  • Uptown Pride day, Saturday, April, @ 9 AM to 12PM, Broadway between Irving Park & Lawrence (start next to Salvation Army, across the street from Aldi)  Join your Uptown neighbors on during the City of Chicago's "Clean & Green" day to clean up a huge stretch of Broadway 
  • Natsu Matsuri Summer Festival, Saturday-Sunday , June 22-23 , Buddhist Temple of Chicago  Celebrate Asian Culture!
  • Leland Square Clean & Green, Sunday October 6 @ 9 AM to 12M, Aster Playlot, 4600 block of Kenmore, Join the Leland Square Neighbors as we clean up our mini-neighborhood (Lawrence to Wilson, Sheridan to Broadway)
  • Warm Clothes Day, Sunday, November 19, , Truman College(?)  Clean out your closet & give some good warm clothes to your needy neighbors.

For regular updates, check the Uptown Portal

Uptown Featured on PBS Special

The following is taken from Inside Online

Uptown shares spotlight in PBS documentary

By Martin Northway

The North Side Uptown neighborhood is one of six communities featured in a 2-1/2-hour Public Broadcasting Service television documentary "Seeking Solutions," airing from 8-10:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Sept. 22, on WTTW Channel 11.

Produced and reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith, the program explores promising grass-roots solutions to problems of gangs, crime and violence, blending documentary segments and public dialogues in the communities.

The program is divided into three segments, "Teen Crime," "Street Crime" and "Hate Crimes and Prejudice." Uptown and Blues Hills, a Kansas City community, are featured in the second segment. The documentary suggests that crime in Uptown is "surprisingly low" and attributes that to community spirit and the activities of a host of active civic groups.

Click here for the full story

The 46th Ward Aldermanic elections are over--thanks for voting! ... Now STOP HATING EACH OTHER!

To find out the results of the election, Click here for the results of the Chicago Elections!

Click here for UPTOWN POLITCS, click here.

Radio Free Uptown 107.1 FM

next to WGCI 107.5 FM

Here's what it's about according to Brad Augustine, one of the 107.1 FM staff:
Free Radio Uptown (107.1) broadcasts every Thursday (and soon to be Wednesday) night from around 8 to 11. The idea is to have subject matter that doesn't appear on commercial radio and stuff that pertains to the Uptown area. After a couple of months our playlist includes a lot of music, about a half hour of world news, some local news, and a half hour poetry show. We've also had some guests involved with community politics speak. As we progress, we'd like to achieve a more local flavor to the station.
...Also, we're always looking for people to help run the airwaves. If you or anyone you know is interested in broadcasting, leave a message for Jonathan or Brad on the station's voicemail (773-252-6019).

 Click here for a comprehensive listing of Uptown web sites

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Politics of Uptown

Just so you know, the following may seem a bit depressing. I encourage you to keep an open mind (which should not translate into an empty head!), ask a lot of tough questions, especially of those who you might be more likely to support, and realize that most people are siomewhere in the middle of the political spectrum.  The extremists are the loudest voices, and don't reflect where most people are at. . 

i have moved all my detailed  thoughts on the previous elections to the following page:


The following is a summary of my experience in my 7 1/2 years in Uptown.

The politics here can get downright nasty. Being this is Chicago, the Democrats have the solid power base here. However, it's the Republicans who first created a web page for my Ward (the 46th). The 46th Ward Republican homepage has some good resources for 46th ward residents. Unfortunately, they seem to be a non-factor in Uptown, particularly when it comes to Uptown/local politics. They are effective in the statewide & national politics, such as for senator & governor.

But even more than the official political parties, it's types of people that make the politics.  


I just want to add that in the year 2000, things have fallen back after some previous politics. Block clubs ended and were re-born, officers & directors resigned, and the fragile unity between different interests seem to have taken a step back, where more than ever, two sides of a broader political spectrum have polarized.


1995 46th Ward Aldermanic Election 

This was my first Chicago election.  The opponent was Bob Kuzas, the 46th Ward Democratic Committeeman.  Bob very quickly disappeared from the neighborhood soon after the election.

1996 46th Ward Democratic Committeeman Election 

1999 46th Ward Aldermanic Election 

There was an Aldermanic Forum on Feb. 9, and I was really disgusted by it. More than anything, the hate and contempt all around (I sat in the middle of anti-Shiller people, so I couldn't hear how nasty the pro-Shiller people were). What has especially hurt in this election, is that my neighbors expect me to follow a certain candidate, but never asked what my actual issues were. They simply assumed that their issues were mine as well. i've been asked to join a campaign based essentially on negativity and "throw the bum out", but that isn't right to me. The whole campaign (culminating in the forum) literally made me sick, and made me almost want to leave Uptown.

But I was encouraged by my church, Uptown Baptist Church, to stay in the community, and continue to address the hurt by making myself available to help heal.

46th Ward Aldermanic Candidates:
Ald. Helen Shiller: Hippie liberal pain in the neck. But she speaks to those who like a rebel, and anti-gentrifiers like her. She's stirred anger, but has also bought time from rampant development, so that developments in the 46th ward aren't all yuppie stuff. She says she's for youth, diversity and low-income housing (not necessarily in that order)... Shiller's been in since '87 (voted in with Harold Wahsington). You can e-mail her office at ward46@ci.chi.il.us
* . * . * . * .
Anti-Shiller candidates ("Anti-Shiller" not just because they are running, but the fundamental platform is GET SHILLER OUT)

    The anti-Shillers have all been involved with and/or are for:
  • the Uptown Chicago Commission
  • their local block club
  • CAPS
  • the Democratic Party.
  • They all have web pages for this election
  • Crime in Uptown is a fundamental issue
  • Economic development of the area is another issue
  • all 4 (Shiller too) are women (brought up in a Feb. 13 Chicago Sun Times article)

Sandra Reed: She wants to bring unity to Uptown, and build a lot of bridges. Also, she really wants to see much more home ownership in Uptown. As mentioned, she's the 46th Ward Democratic Commiteman
Katharine Nathan: Parking is a big issue for her, as well as gay/lesbian issues. Also, crime is a major issue (she helped initiated CAPS in Uptown)
Cindi Anderson: A cornerstone platform for her is the complete development of Broadway. Also, she wants to use her business experience & knowledge (Northwestern M.B.A.) to use in local government
* . * . * . * .

2000 46th Ward Democratic Committeeman Election 

Looks like there was still some mudslinging, partially due to last year's Aldermanic election.  However, i personally feel that the issue of what a ward committeeman should be about was brought out here.

2000-2001 T.I.F. (Tax Increment FInancing) District Proposals 

2001 State of Uptown Politics 

The is some hope in that several people from different parts of the political spectrum have been working otgether on some projects.  The End of the year ended poorly

2002 State of Uptown Politics 

we shall see what happens in the upcoming year.


Click here for the results of the Chicago Elections!

So what's your opinion of the politics in Uptown? Share them at the  Uptown Message Forum 

* . * . * . * .

i'm also a part of the Leland Square Neighborhood Association (formerly Truman Square Neighborhood Association), which covers the area between Lawrence & Wilson (4800N-4600N) and Broadway & Sheridan (1150W-1000W). LSNA is a block club which strives to help clean up and maintain the specific neighborhood of Leland Square . The umbrella group for some neighborhood block clubs is the Uptown Chicago Commission.

To read up on gentrification in Chicago (the process by which (generally) white middle-to-upper class people move into a neighborhood and make it financially unlivable for the working class. In Uptown, that means that the poor will be isolated into High Rises, obvious "scattered site" housing (i.e. the building will look pseudo-surburban, but the population will be strictly low income). Also, recent college grads who aren't making at least $40,000 a year will have a hard time finding a place to live. The article on gentrification was produced by The Neighborhood Works . According to their online mission statement: "TNW covers cities from an organizing perspective, demonstrating sustainable principles at work in urban communities and connecting readers to each other and to issues, projects and resources needed to effect change in their communities."

Uptown Paradox

Real World

Uptown - at one point, "the Arm pit of the North Side", and still holds a reputation as a dangerous neighborhood

Billy Joel described an "Uptown girl" as being an upper class young lady--implying that Uptown is the same as being rich

Truman Square Neighborhood (now Leland Square)

Is bounded by Lawrence & Wilson, Broadway & Sheridan. Truman College is on the OTHER side of the Wilson "El" stop".

Sheridan Park Neighborhood

Is bounded by Lawrence & Montrose, Broadway & Clark. Sheridan Road is on the OTHER side of the Wilson "El" stop".

Alderman Helen Shiller has kept Uptown in the dumps

Condominium prices have skyrocketed in the past few years; everyone seems to want to live here

Crime is rampant in Uptown

We have the CAPS program, drive-by shootings are way down (i.e. almost non-existant), "Blood Alley" isn't so...

Uptown is a good example of diversity

Block Clubs are majority white, playgrounds and schools are majority black & Hispanic, thriving restaurants are Asian.  In other words, quite a bit of segregation (intentional or otherwise)

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Why am i in Uptown?

Cell Church Background

If you're familiar with the campus structure of the university organization InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, then you have a good idea what a cell church is supposed to be like. The emphasis on relationship building and accountability. There may be a Sunday celebration with worship (i.e. music, possibly dramas or testimonies) and a sermon, but that should NOT be considered church. "Church" is more along the lines of Small groups of 10-12 people (Community Groups, or "Cells") and one-on-one discipleship. In these Small Groups, it's harder to put on the "Sunday Face" and fake about how great things are going. You can actually feel open to share your struggles, and to have people pray and work with you to have a deeper relationship with God and other people. Jon Reid / j-reid@uiuc.edu maintains an excellent set of Web pages regarding Cell Churches.

The connection between Cell Church and Uptown? Even there are a number of great ministries in Uptown, a group of us felt that Uptown can still use more. Our cell church was called Joshua Community Church. My personal goal is achieve true multiculturalism (i.e. people with diverse backgrounds coming together for a common goal: knowing God), especially among young people.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out. The church, which at one point numbered about 20, folded in July of 1996.

i now go to Uptown Baptist Church (UBC e-mail ), which is literally across the street (at 1011 W. Wilson; 773/784-2922). i'm now involved with the Junior High Youth Group, Agape, (where i volunteer) is using a small group format, similar to the Cell Church model. The junior high youth pastor is Mark Colligan and high school (former Jr. High) youth include Jonathan Wrightzell and Chris Grimes.


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This home page was created by j.p. paulus


JP Paulus / jp [at] paulus.com
4625 North Kenmore Avenue #2
Chicago IL 60640-7517

 [Aaddzz Counter]started 10 February 2002

Click here for a comprehensive listing of Uptown web sites

Please let me know of any problems you have with these links. Thanks!

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