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.