In the second half of the year, Evanstonians for the most part observed social distancing and wore masks. Schools continued remote learning, shops marked out social-distancing spaces, and restaurants expanded outdoors. Things done regularly in the past, such as checking on neighbors, running errands for friends, and volunteering to help, became more frequent, as we all realized we were facing an uncertain future. Protests and rallies continued safely and peacefully, except for one. Celebrations were small and mainly virtual until Nov. 7, when impromptu crowds gathered at Fountain Square to celebrate the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. And then in December the first vaccines arrived. 

Bob Seidenberg’s Jan. 1 story on the legal sales of recreational cannabis was titled “Hello, 2020.” Here you go, 2020, and none too soon. (Except as noted, photos by RoundTable staff)


July 4 chalkout at Fountain Square

Members of the ETHS varsity team, present and past, paint “Black Lives Matter” in front of the high school. (Drone photo below from Steve Lemieux-Jordan)


Protests at the corner of Lake Street and Elmwood Avenue.

The idea of defunding police departments, or reallocating funds to social services, caught on in Evanston.

Evanston Recycles, an annual event, attracts hundreds of people, many of whom seemed to have spent part of the lockdown clearing their homes of unwanted or unneeded things.

Planting a pollinator garden at Lovelace Park (submitted photo)

Golfing at Canal Shores 

Musicians perform to raise money for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Students from The Musical Offering perform around Evanston on Saturdays. Emi Brady and Ellie Weiler play near the Merrick Rose Garden.

Opera on Marcy

Bubbles and bicycles at the lakefront



A rainbow at Lovelace Park (photo from Sigrid Pilgrim)


Penny Park, like other playgrounds during the pandemic, is mostly empty as families hunker down at home.

The Black Male Alliance holds an anti-gun-violence rally at Church Street and Dodge Avenue after the shooting of two Evanston youth.

Community lament for Jacob Blake, member of a beloved Evanston family, who was shot and wounded by Kenosha, Wis., police.

“Fauci” by Joanna Pinsky in the exhibit “High Anxiety” at Space 900.

Rally to protect the postal service in light of government threats and fears about mail-in ballots.

Masks for sale at the annual Art Walk

Police Chief Demitrous Cook hands out masks as people assemble for a march from Jacob Blake Manor to Ebenezer Primm Towers.

Socially distanced band practice at ETHS.

First day of school and classrooms are vacant, as District 65 and 202 students log in to virtual classes from home,


Fire Chief Brian Scott speaks at the memorial ceremony for the victims of 9/11.

Tony Burdock volunteers his time to help rid the Ladd Arboretum of invasive species. (submitted photo)

Jennifer’s Edibles (Jennifer Eason, center), provides free hot meals for those in need.

Directing traffic (above) and enjoying the ride (below) at Bike the Ridge

Surf’s up!

Fleetwood-Jourdain Artistic Director with Lorelei Goldman of Prime Time Players. The group met for socially distance theater games in Ingraham Park.


Classes continue at Dance Center Evanston. (submitted photo)

Hopes and wishes for peace float away in the North Shore Channel. (submitted photo)

Armor Down Girls read for education, growth and empowerment. (submitted photo) 

Good to Go on Howard Street offers sheltered on-street dining.

Mayor Stephen Hagerty swears in new City Manager Erika Storlie. Photo by Genie Lemieux-Jordan, Evanston Photographic Studios.

Early voting at the Civic Center

Weekly Northwestern University student protests shut down streets in Evanston, with the goal of persuading the University to dismantle its police force. The group’s mantra is NU Community Not Cops.

Mural at Dawes School

A plug for the hometown paper

Teresa Parod’s Day of the Dead display.


Impromptu celebrations of the Biden-Harris victory.

Memorial for Ryan Bost

Veterans Day at Fountain Square

Reopening of Hecky’s 

A memorial to Evanston residents who died from COVID-19. At least 10 more have died since this photo was taken. The creator of the memorial wishes to remain anonymnous.

Making peace with the leaves (submitted photo)

Poignant message from the staff of the North Branch Library. 


The Mayor’s holiday card

Menorah lighting in Fountain Square

Brightness on a dark night

Santa stops in Evanston, visiting each ward.

The Great Conjunction, almost, was bright in the sky on Dec. 20. The next evening, when it conjunction occurred, clouds covered the skies in Evanston.

Eric Beauchamp’s Kwanzaa installation at Fountain Square

Perhaps the greatest cause for celebration this month: arrival of COVID-19 vaccines (submitted photo)

New Year’s Eve with Corky Siegel and Lynn Shafer (above) and the premiere of an original teen drama (below).

Happy 2021 from the Evanston RoundTable

Victoria Scott and Heidi Randhava contributed to this piece.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...