Pilsen, A Great Place To Live

by Isaiah Thompson

Pilsen

For hundreds of years Pilsen has been a great port of entry for lots of immigrants. Early on big waves of eastern Europeans, including Germans and Czech immigrants, settled there. Later it shifted and became predominantly Latino. Today it is a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. Pilsen is located on the lower west side of Chicago its boundaries o are the Chicago River north to 16th street and Chicago River west to Damen.

Lots of culture thrives in Pilsen, it is a neighborhood that pulses with a youthful spirit. This spirit invites people to explore some of the treasures this neighborhood has. In Pilsen bold murals have blossomed in some unexpected places , like on the fronts of homes and the steps of train stations.

Attractions

May Street Cafe- Known for its inventive cuisine, it blends Latin and Contemporary American dishes together to create delicious dishes. The May Street Cafe was featured on an episode of Channel Eleven's Check Please!

Pink Station Murals- Francisco Mendoza's and the Gallery 37 student untitled murals adorn the 18th street station.

National Museum of Mexican Art- Founded in 1982 by Carlos Tortolero and a group of his fellow educators. The museum provides a positive influence for the local Mexican community.

Thanks to Pilsens sense of style and diversity you will find very cool vintage shops, independent coffee houses and and quaint cafes. These places are very common for people to visit in the Pilsen area. Just a short bus or train ride will take you downtown for more Chicago attractions. These are some of the many things that make Pilsen a great place to live.

History

Like many early 20th Century American urban neighborhoods, Pilsen was home to the wealthy as well as the working class, doctors lived next to maids and laborers. The Czechs replaced the Germans and Irish who settled who settled there in the mid 1800s. Beginning in the early 1970s, Pilsen became increasingly Mexican as people were forced to move when their former small neighborhood to the North of Pilsen was torn down to make way for the University of Illinois at Chicago. The neighborhood continues to serve as port of entry for immigrants, both legal and undocumented. Many elderly central Europeans still reside in Pilsen, but today, the community's largely Mexican population is increasingly dwarfed by  the largest Mexican neighborhood in Chicago - Little Village.

Fun Fact

The late Chicago Bears football coach and owner George Halas was raised in Pilsen. He attended Peter Cooper School.