Giants lived here once. It was the kind of town, thirty years gone, that made big men out of little ones. It was geared for great deeds then, as it is geared for small deeds now.
In Vachel Lindsay's day, in Carl Sandburg's day, in the silver-colored yesterday, in Darrow's and Masters' and Edna Millay's day, writers and working stiffs alike told policemen where to go, the White Sox won the pennant with a team batting average of .228 and the town was full of light.
Now it's a town where we do as we're told, praise poison, bless the F.B.I., yearn wistfully for just one small chance to prove ourselves more abject than anyone yet for expenses to Washington and return - You Too Can Learn to Trap Your Man - and applaud the artist, hanging for sale beside his work, with an ancestral glee.
And cannot understand how it can be that others are happier than ourselves. And why it seems that no one loves us now as they once did. No giants live on Rush Street any more.
Nelson Algren (1909-1981) writing about Chicago in the 1920s and comparing it to the 1950s
Chicago: City on the Make: 50th Anniversary Edition, Newly Annotated
First published in 1951