Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Possible Chicagos: One Built, the Other Uncovered by Local Author

(Janice Metzger, a local author, resident, and SSA #33 Commissioner, passed away yesterday morning. She was an early reader of the e-newsletter, and encouraged me to focus on residents as well as business owners. This story, pasted below, originally appeared in the Sept. 14th, 2009 Pipeline.)

Two Possible Chicagos: 

One Built, The Other


by Local Author

Two years ago, Janice Metzger had a feeling 2009 would be "the year everyone would be talking about [Daniel] Burnham."

And she's right. In this centennial year, everyone does seem to be talking about the Plan of Chicago, which ushered in the framework for the city as we know it today. A skeptic who wasn't around at the time, though possessing a rich imagination and a curious mind, might, like Janice, wonder: Was there opposition to Burnham's plan?

And there were raised eyebrows, particularly among social activists and leading women reformers, many of whom worked diligently and quietly to make their voices heard. Jane Addams, among the most prominent voices of opposition, subscribed to the "City Beautiful" movement and worked on implementing smaller achievements that, in the shadow of Burnham's larger plan, still resonate today, despite the fact that in the end the clout-heavy Commercial Club of Chicago and vested interests of Burnham's ultimately prevailed in influencing the plan's direction.

Janice spent ten intense months researching this tale of the "other Chicago," the one that could have been, and it left her asking, What Would Jane Say?. Janice, pictured, credits her sense of urgency to tell the story, as well as support from her partner John, also pictured, for helping bring her book, published last month by Lake Claremont Press, into fruition. Readers of The Pipeline are invited to attend a book release party this Friday, Sept. 18th, at the Harriet Vittum Theater of Northwestern University's Settlement House, 1012 N. Noble, 2nd Floor. The reception is free, however, RSVPs are required via email, by calling Lake Claremont Press at 312-226-8400, or via the Facebook invite. Not able to attend Friday's gathering? Copies of What Would Jane Say?: City-Building Women and a Tale of Two Chicagos, can be purchased by clicking here. 

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