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Table of Contents > Chapter 11

South Lakefront (continued)

In 1968 the Judy Roberts Trio played at the Baroque Lounge on 53rd Street. The Last Stage Players fled the wrecker's ball next door to the House of Tiki and had settled in the Harper Theatre. A controversial play was being shown at the Shoreland Hotel. That same year the Democratic Convention and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy jolted the nation. The riots that shook the Black Belt shook Hyde Park as well. The enclave mentality was reinforced.

The spirit of a neighborhood is a delicate thing. In the 1850s Paul Cornell envisioned his Hyde Park, the first Hyde Park. as an elite suburb on the edges of a great city. He worked hard to reach that goal, and by 1900 the area became a Chicago neighborhood and was one of the finest in the city. The first Hyde Park was a bastion of Republican politics and was socially and economically conservative. This original Hyde Park, however, died in the 1930s and a new liberal Democratic community took its place. The changes of the war years meant that its days were numbered too. 1954 signaled the birth of a third Hyde Park that struggled through an intense identity crisis which has not yet been resolved. Paul Cornell's ideas still haunt the neighborhood, as do the visions of the 1930s and the 1940s. They all mingle together on 53rd and 55th Streets.

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