Established 1848

Originally St. Catherine’s Mission, the religious center of the area, Uptown became the swanky shopping center of the community with the founding of Chester Mercantile. Not only did Chester cater to the discriminating taste of the happy homesteader’s housewife across the Midwest and West, but the four-story, square block department store that became Chester Mercantile, with its warehouse across the street, became a destination in its own right. Artisan shops, furniture stores, and craftsmen moved to the area to capitalize on Chester’s success and crowds. The southeast corner of Uptown became the most desirable commercial district in the city, an utterly earthy destination. The northern center of Uptown, in contrast, remained home to St. Catherine’s, including the basilica, the preparatory school, and the monastery. St. Catherine’s had begun as a center of culture and became a school for troubled but wealthy or gifted youths. The part of Uptown stretching from Brookline to Hill Avenue resembled The Hill, a middle-class section of the city populated with single family dwellings.

History of Uptown


Two Benedictine Priests founded St. Catherine’s Mission. Their arrival brought the first bastion of culture to an otherwise crude and ruthless outpost of civilization. 1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


Due to the growing immigrant population, the Catholic Church established Central City Diocese. Initially, the diocesan headquarters were in St. Catherine’s. 1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


Chester Mercantile opened on Marquette in what is now Uptown. Chester Mercantile offered catalogue sales of mercantile goods shipped from Central City to general stores throughout the Midwest and west.

1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


A local investment group purchased The Shaktenasen Star, renamed it The Central City Gazette, and moved the newspaper to an office building in Uptown.

1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


Although the city’s population grew rapidly, the city limits remained limited to what is now the southern half of Uptown and all of Midtown and Downtown. The city council, however, had its sights set on expansion. 1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation


Chester Mercantile, now the flagship location of a superstore chain with offices Downtown but owned by a multinational corporation.

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