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Old Town School of Folk Music

400 W North Ave.

As Americans turned toward looking deeper at the country’s artistic roots, the Old Town School Of Folk Music was established in 1957 to showcase these sounds. The school’s mission was to provide a space to educate as well as perform and some of the city’s most prominent folk artists were also teachers, including Fleming Brown, Win Stracke and Frank Hamilton. By the end of the decade, more than 100 students were regularly enrolled in its acoustic guitar and banjo classes. Over time, its courses and performers comprised an array of instruments and genres. Some students went on to international acclaim in folk and rock, including John Prine, Steve Goodman, Fred Holstein and Roger McGuinn. Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Seeger and Odetta were some of the famous names who performed at the Old Town School’s stage during its early years. The school moved from its original location to a larger space on Armitage Avenue in 1968 and its main location is in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of the Old Town School of Folk Music.

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