A homemade sign on a LaSalle Boulevard condo construction site south of North Avenue, in the Old Town neighborhood.
Old Town, just northwest of Chicago's tony Gold Cost neighborhood, was almost completely consumed in the 1871 Chicago fire. It was rebuilt in the Victorian style that was prevalent at the time, and the neighborhood housed some prominent artist colonies in the 1930s. After the neighborhood's so-called "white flight" to the suburbs in the 1950s, it became home to counterculture hippies in the 1960s. Then the gays moved in. And you know what happens once the gays move in: The trendy straight people follow, property values soar and the neighborhood goes into a constant state of renovation. Old Town today is packed with grand old homes, ’60s eyesores and trendy boutiques … along with a few remnants of its counterculture past like The Second City improv/comedy revue, which has occupied a space at North and Wells since 1967.