Keyes Moves to Calumet City, Illinois!
As you all know by now, Alan Keyes has chosen to run for Senator in Illinois. While this not the sort of news item on which I normally comment, I was startled to learn that he chose as his place of residence my home town of Calumet City (and which is also the home town of the Blues Brothers). Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune--and someone who obviously never heard of the place before--offers A crash course for the new guy in Calumet City (free registration required).

Not mentioned in her report is the once well-known fact that Calumet City used to be one of the most colorful and notorious towns in the US. When Indiana stayed dry after the end of prohibition, Cal City was a border town that serviced the "needs" of the mill and refinery workers in Northwest Indiana, otherwise known as The Region. At one time, Al Capone had a house there on State Line Avenue (before moving to Cicero)and Cal City boasted more taverns per capita than any other municipality in the US. In the 1940s, Life Magazine dubbed it "Sin City." It was the Tijuana of the Midwest, a place to which conventioneers from Chicago took charter buses. All but the bars and a few B-joints (now razed to the ground) were gone by the time I grew up there in the 50s and 60s, but it was still a tough town.

One last observation: A lot of people from the North Side of Chicago think Calumet City is in Indiana. Perhaps this makes it particularly appropriate as the Illinois residence of a senatorial candidate who is really from Maryland.