It’s hard to believe that LoganSquarist began as a Twitter handle created on a whim back in April 2011. Harder still to see how it’s grown over the past two years.
No longer just a Twitter handle promoting neighborhood content, LoganSquarist is a hyper-local website with a staff of 16 volunteers.
Featuring unique articles, a neighborhood business directory and an events calendar, LoganSquarist has evolved into a resource serving the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. We even host monthly Neighbor Meetups where neighbors get together to meet each other at a local establishment.
From humble beginnings to an operational organization, it’s good to take a look back at where LoganSquarist came from, and preview what’s in store for 2013.
In April 2011, as the neighborhood picked up, more and more businesses opened and Chicago’s eyes turned to a growing area, I launched @LoganSquarist—a Twitter handle I planned to use to promote neighborhood news and happenings.
Slowly over the summer, I connected with neighbors and business owners excited about what was happening, and ecstatic to finally see the area flourish like they knew it always could.
In the fall, followers and friends sought to finally meet in person at LoganSquarist’s first neighbor meetup hosted at long-time supporter El Cid (@elcidchicago, 2645 N. Kedzie Ave.).
As @LoganSquarist grew in followers and I launched a Facebook page, it became apparent that there was a need that could be filled with a dedicated news resource website where we could do more than just share stories and updates.
Launching a Website
Last February, the night before a LoganSquarist Meetup at the former Ciao Napoli Restaurant (now Reno), I knew I wanted to do more than a 140-character limit would allow me. I wanted to create a place to discuss neighbor meetups, profile new businesses opening up throughout the neighborhood, highlight other upcoming events and report Logan Square news.
Even as I launched LoganSquarist, I also knew I wanted to focus on “socializing the neighborhood.” Instead of becoming like many other local news websites, I wanted it to be more than that: a lifeline to the neighborhood and a source of information shaped by the neighbors and businesses it served.
In its original iteration, the site was a simple blog that used a popular design template (check out the snazzy design!). After several iterations—a number of new features, design changes, logo and banner changes, and other aesthetic tweaks—you have the current site you navigate today.
Growing Into an Organization
A year after the Twitter account was created, we celebrated a year: a year of new businesses breathing new light into Logan Square, a year of meeting neighbors and patronizing businesses, a year of socializing the neighborhood.
In May 2012, as my professional career transitioned from B2B magazine publishing to digital marketing and the LoganSquarist audience continued to grow, I knew I needed more help to foster LoganSquarist the way I wanted to.
A request to the neighborhood resulted in a number of neighbors coming forward, volunteering their time to help. Some of the first volunteers are still helping out today, including Hannah Esper, Jenn Nelson, Kimberly Pool and Brenton Harper-Murray.
Today we have a staff of 16 volunteers supporting the website and organization in different ways. We meet monthly to discuss our plans and articles, and I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people who believe in this project. I’m humbled and amazed daily by their dedication!
Celebrating Two Years
This past Thursday on Feb. 28, 2013, we celebrated LoganSquarist’s two-year anniversary.
Old friends and new connections joined us at The Logan Theatre (@thelogantheatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.), which was kind enough to donate their space. It was great to get together and reflect on how Logan Square has changed, and remained the same, over the past few years.
No party would be complete without a cake. Logan Square resident and professionally trained pastry chef Kelly Dull was kind enough to make a handmade cake complete with our logo in fondant! (Check out Kelly’s pastry portfolio website.)
Plans for 2013
Now with two years under our belt and a group of amazing volunteers, I’m so excited to see what’s next for LoganSquarist. Here are a few exciting things coming up this year:
- More stories every week, with articles published daily each weekday
- Monthly Neighbor Meetups: Join us for our next event March 20th!
- Quarterly events featuring unique artists and performances
- The first LoganSquarist fundraiser to help us do more in the neighborhood
Thanks for continuing to visit the site, read our articles and socialize the neighborhood. I look forward to meeting you at an upcoming event!
Have a suggestion? I’d love to hear it. Contact me.
Editor’s note: Check out the birthday wishes we received from around the neighborhood. Thanks guys!