Good article. My boring story involves my dad. He lived at Ashland and Grace for a couple years in the 1950's, in the apartment that's right above what is now Ginger's Ale House, and then, years later, in the early-mid 60's, he and my grandparents bought a house on Berteau, about 8 houses from the corner of Clark, and he lived there until he got married. (My grandma sold the house in 1977 after my grandfather had died). Looking back on it now, that house and property is worth close to $1 million. Amazing.
Anyway, he always told me that that neighborhood was just a regular working class neighborhood, not the Disney World/Mardi Gras north it is now. He had neighbors that took him to a few Cubs games, telling him how great it was. But what he remembers was that they always lost, and that the park was not close to full, and you could walk up and get tickets on game day. (This is how he became a Sox fan as a kid,- they were always that "other team" in that far away place called "the south side". He was always curious and wanted to go to a Sox game, but nobody would take him. One day he said someone did give him a Sox hat, and a yellow t-shirt that had the roster of the '59 Sox on it printed in red, and from that moment forward, he was a Sox fan. )
I've posted before that I'm old enough to remember going to Cubs games as a kid in the 70's and early 80's, and like my dad, remember it just being another regular working class neighborhood, not the destination it is now. The Tribune bought the Cubs in 1981, but it was definitely 1984 when somebody flipped a switch. The difference in that whole area from 1982-83 to 1984 was like night and day.