Book Review: Forgotten Chicago

Forgotten Chicago, by John Paulett and Ron Gordon
Arcadia Publishing, 2004
Paperback, 128 pages

Part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, Forgotten Chicago is a visual account of Chicago buildings and neighborhoods that are gone forever or have been altered beyond their original look or function. Written by Paulett, and with black-and-white photographs by Gordon, the book five chapters look at train stations, sports and entertainment centers, diners and SRO hotels, Soldier Field, Cook County Hospital, Tree Studios, and Maxwell Street. The variety of projects presented is refreshing, pointing to the realization that the smaller buildings are as important as larger structures in how we experience and remember a city. Images showcase the buildings and areas before, during, and after their destruction or renovation, while the informative text gives the reader enough background to realize the importance of each loss, but without passing judgment. While it is sad to flip through the book knowing that what's on the pages will never be again, in most cases our loss is from progress and change, but hopefully a book like this will temper the decisions of what we choose to save in the future.