February 19, 2008
City of American Dreams
A History of Chicago Homeownership
The ownership of a single-family house set on a tidy yard is widely seen as fundamental to the American character. Yet this ideal is little more than a century old, the offspring of the aspirations and economic necessities faced by European immigrants to industrializing cities. This talk traced the roots of the American Dream in the immigrant working class neighborhoods of late 19th century Chicago. It is the story of the reorganization of the housing market and the gradual spatial segregation of households along racial and class lines. It is a cautionary tale, most especially given the current crisis in the nation's real estate markets. In this program, Margaret Garb presented highlights from her book City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform, Chicago 1871-1919.
About the Speaker
Margaret Garb is an assistant professor of American history at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform, Chicago 1871-1919. She currently is working on a study of African American politics in late 19th century Chicago.