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Archive for the ‘Peter Pero’ Category

On this first day of 2016 I am catching up with a promise to a terrific friend who lives in the historic heart of Chicago. I know there are many “hearts of Chicago,” and Peter Pero knows durn near every one of them. I know this because a few years ago, he shared a few of them with me as a friend and convivial historian. The post I’m writing here is part one of a two part ramble which will add pictures a plenty in part 2 by January 15.

Peter Pero has written a book — Chicago Italians  at Work — produced by Arcadia Publishing, and available everywhere. There are more than 200 pictures of “Chicago Italians” (surprise) from 1890 to 1970, and as someone once said “every picture tells a story.”   If you have even a passing interest in “the town that Billy Sunday could not shut down,” you should buy and enjoy the book.

Chicago is  THE CITY which attracted probably millions of people with stars in their eyes. Consider Second City comedy, the night life, the huge talent incubator for  people like Louis Armstrong and countless others who came to Chi’ BEFORE they went to New York City. A  poet or singer who proved capable in his or her home town — especially any home town between the Alleghenies and the  Rockies — could explore a world horizon in relative security. relatively close to the nest of Wichita or Paducah or Springfield. The city has always fascinated me as it fascinated another Springfield, Illlinois poet: Vachel Lindsay who made a big impression at the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chi’ when he met William Butler Yeats. When I visited Peter Pero and walked with him down Michigan Avenue a few years ago, he showed me where the Cliff Dwellers Club met. Peter showed me a lot: the Hull House that Jane Addams made famous, the incredible art museum, the Chicago Museum, some incredible neighborhoods where I could almost hear the echos of bustling  Saturday street markets, Lincoln Park with its statue of Grant and so much more, as you will see in Part Two later this month.

You should know about his web site —

http://www.chicgohistorystreet.org

where you will learn more about Peter Pero and his services as a tour guide. He will not direct you to a bus with 30 adults and 20 crying children and a public address system that was obsolete when McGovern was nominated to run for president on the Democrat ticket. He offers one-on-one  and small group tours. He has contacts who know what he doesn’t, in case you have special interests. And it’s all family focused.

Peter Pero is the man to know when you want to learn about that wonderful city. Don’t wait for this blog’s Part 2. Visit his  web site and get to know this fellow.  You will be the richer for it.

Happy new year to everyone.

Live long . . . . . . .  and proper.

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