Markus: On Evanston’s past and future


Nicole Markus, Happy Birthday Evanston Editor

While researching Evanston for this special edition, I found hundreds of years of history: some famous events we’ve all heard of and a plethora of smaller facts I didn’t know occurred in the city’s 7.8 square miles. 

The city has long echoed greater trends around the United States. Evanston’s founder, John Evans, displaced and massacred Native Americans across the country, including in Evanston. 

Later, leaders in the temperance movement found their home in Evanston, setting a national stage for prohibition.

Evanston’s roots are also comprised of lesser-known events. The city is the site of a national ice cream debate: Did early residents really create the ice cream sundae, or did it happen in Two Rivers, Wisconsin? Why are so many beloved movies filmed here? How did this small area become home to national headquarters of organizations like the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Rotary International and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity?  

Today, Evanston remains a major part of national news. In 2019, it became the first city to pass a reparations resolution for Black residents.  

Only time will tell how Evanston’s legacy is cemented. 

This year, on Evanston’s 160th birthday, we honor the community the city has created while recognizing the harm it has propagated. With hard work, the next 160 years will hopefully be filled with history we can be proud of.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

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Descendants of Sand Creek Massacre victims, John Evans’ relatives talk healing wounds