Join us for a virtual reading with Patrick Reardon, author of The Loop: The “L” Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago in conversation with Julia Keller at 6:30 PM CST.
** We will be gathering virtually on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87276347654?pwd=U3o3V0F5RGQwelNQR0tKb0JpVXo4Zz09.
If you'd like to join and haven't used Zoom-- sign up for a free account and download Zoom prior to the meeting. It's pretty easy to get set up, but here's a linked video describing the process. **
In engagingly brisk prose, Patrick T. Reardon unfolds the fascinating story about how Chicago’s elevated Loop was built, gave its name to the downtown, helped unify the city, saved the city’s economy, and was itself saved from destruction in the 1970s.
This unique volume combines urban history, architecture, transportation, culture, and politics to explore the elevated Loop’s impact on the city’s development and economy and on the way Chicagoans see themselves. The Loop rooted Chicago’s downtown in a way unknown in other cities, and it protected that area—and the city itself—from the full effects of suburbanization during the second half of the twentieth century.
The Loop features a cast of colorful Chicagoans, such as legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow, poet Edgar Lee Masters, mayor Richard J. Daley, and the notorious Gray Wolves of the Chicago City Council. Charles T. Yerkes, an often-demonized figure, is shown as a visionary urban planner, and engineer John Alexander Low Waddell, a world-renowned bridge creator, is introduced to Chicagoans as the unrecognized designer of the Loop elevated structure.
“This exceptional book enables us to see, as if for the first time, something that is right under our noses. It is almost impossible to imagine downtown Chicago and the Loop ‘L’ without each other, and Patrick T. Reardon explains just why that is so in a lively narrative full of information and insights.”—Carl Smith, author of Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City.
“Years spent as a newspaper reporter have given Reardon the gifts of great storytelling and the doggedness to separate fact from myth. If you’re looking for dry transit history, buy a different book.”—Tim Samuelson, cultural historian for the city of Chicago.
Patrick T. Reardon, a Chicagoan born and bred, has studied and written about Chicago for more than half a century. During a 32-year career as a Chicago Tribune reporter, Reardon covered in-depth a wide range of topics, including neighborhoods, race, housing, education, demographics, politics, the Chicago River, landmarks, planning, development and economics. He has published Requiem for David, a poetry collection, and seven other earlier books. His essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in the Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader, and Crain’s Chicago Business. A widely published poet, Reardon has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. His memoir in prose poems Puddin: The Autobiography of a Baby is to be published in 2021 by Third World Press.
Julia Keller, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, is the author of eight novels and four e-novellas in the highly acclaimed, widely popular Bell Elkins series, set in the fictional town of Acker’s Gap in West Virginia. She has been described by crime writer Karin Slaughter as “that rare talent who combines gripping suspense, a fabulous sense of place and nuanced characters you can't wait to come back to.” Keller has also written a non-fiction book detailing the cultural impact of the Gatling gun and four young adult novels, three of which form the Dark Intercept series.