Chicago is so much more than the North Side, West Side, or South Side, it's the city of neighborhoods. A city built by the hands of immigrants, first-generation Americans, and the blue-collar mindset that gave Chicago the nickname, "City of Big Shoulders."
Historically, Chicago is made up of 77 neighborhoods with their own stories to tell. Only separated by blocks, woven in the microcosm that gives Chicago its unique taste, its people are the epitome of true grit. Each neighborhood, held together with blood, sweat, and tears that are now traditions, giving us this amazing collection of stories from each neighborhood. That is true Chicago.
Chicago's newest neighborhood is being developed right now. It's called 78. Chicago, as in the 78th Chicago neighborhood. There you have it, this site is dedicated to all the stories in the 78 neighborhoods.
Chicagoans are the reflection of the concrete, glass, and steel in her skyline. Each piece, carefully placed with tales of survival, progress, victory, heartache, change, and innovation, sometimes told by generations of one family. Many of these stories have had an impact on the world and some, an impact on the block they live. Chicagoans have made it to the four corners of the world, giving these stories a platform that will reach beyond the city limits of Chicago. We'll always have Chicago as our compass, but these memoirs are boundless and infinite.
How did we land on the title Stories from the 78?
That one is simple, Chicago's newest neighborhood is being developed and built right now. It's called 78 Chicago, as in the 78th Chicago neighborhood. This site will focus on all of the Chicago neighborhoods, but more importantly the people that live or have lived in Chicago. We want to aim in telling stories from all over the planet and how Chicago has shaped our world.
Everyone has a great story to tell, what's yours?
Tom Barnas is the host and creator of Stories From The 78.
Barnas lives and breathes Chicago. Being part of the Chicago media landscape for over 20 years. Getting his feet wet in Chicago morning radio and eventually making the transition to television at WGN TV by way of WGN Radio 720, he has been a successful storyteller in the Chicago media community.
This latest venture, Stories From The 78 is the next evolution in Barnas's storied career. Taking all the knowledge of 20-plus years in Chicago and pouring it all into this project will make it stand apart from others.
People always have a great story to tell, you just have to ask them. Stories From The 78 is not just about Chicago, it will gather stories from around the world, with a base in Chicago. Neighborhoods have endless stories, and Barnas will use this platform to tell all of them.
Joining WGN-TV in 2008, Barnas has spent his tenure on the WGN Midday News in his early career, then shifting to the WGN Morning News in several roles.
Starting as the Around Town producer with Ana Belaval, Morning Show segment, digital producer, and then as the Social Media Voice and special live events producer for the WGN Morning News.
In his almost 15 years with WGN TV, Barnas developed a reputation as the mastermind behind the WGN Morning News Block Party, St. Patrick’s Day Live Broadcast, WGN Food Drive, and WGN Morning News Sports rallies. He's been part of an Emmy Award-winning team that has made WGN TV the #1 Morning Show in the United States.
Barnas wrapped up his WGN career as the host, creator, and producer of the WGN Chicago Scene segments for wgntv.com.
"Finding unique stories about Chicago mixed in with what makes this city so unique is my absolute favorite thing to do on this planet, I've always wanted to do something on my own, and Strories From The 78 allows me to do it on my own terms. I feel like I was born to do this, and I love it," said Barnas.
Follow @tomwgnchicago on Instagram and @storiesfromthe78 on TikTok.