Evanston sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, comfortable as a dreamer in a rocking chair. A mix of every level of life, the City treats Chicago like a friendly next-door neighbor, knowing it is always there, accessible and convenient, but not like Evanston. Not at all like it.
Evanston lives in an embrace of comforting trees and moves with the rhythms of time. Its culture is tangible, its history unapologetic for what it is – and will become. A “university town,” Evanston is a place of openness and ideas, of diversity and enlightenment – a reflection of the best of democracy as well as its struggles. Ever conscious of its growing edge, Evanston, unlike its population, is ageless. It is also always curious, challenging and welcoming of whatever the future holds.
Three factors define the essence Evanston: its people, its culture and its vision.
Its people are believers of every variety, identified not only by its churches, synagogues, temples and other sites of worship but also its politics and sense of social justice. Its people embody and celebrate diversity, even with the tragedies that the differences among them sometimes create. They are seekers of the better life, sharers of talents and resources, helpers of those less able to dream. Evanston’s people are the flesh of a city that not only works to grow but also strives to better itself, particularly and especially for its children.
Culture in Evanston is not just a rare commodity for a select few. It permeates every level of the City, enticing creativity, enriching minds and offering an awareness of and appreciation for the human spirit. Fine arts, music, theater, dance continuously pulse out of and through the City’s heart. Novels and other literary works, poetry, children’s books, works in progress shout out the power of its collective and eclectic mind. The City’s architecture renders it worthy of being Chicago’s neighbor. And its schools, pre-through Ph.D., are world-class as well. A city’s culture, more than anything else, speaks to a city’s quality of life. There is no better example of that than Evanston.
Evanston envisions itself as a comfortably diverse community, free of violence, working toward a greener environment – energy-efficient and globally responsible. It seeks honest transparency in its government and is closer than ever to a working partnership with Northwestern University. It is a City open to and welcoming of a wider world. Its variety of shopping options – its unique boutiques and specialized stores, its restaurants and entertainment venues and its cultural desserts all speak not only of a present vitality but also of a future growth.
Evanston, with its proud history, has always been a city of delights, surprises and challenges. Reading the enclosed magazine, “Evanston: The City We Built,” should help anyone understand why those who call Evanston home will tell any who ask, or even those who do not, “There’s no place quite like it.”