About Pilsen, Chicago
Created by :Mia Farland
December 2014

Location

Pilsen is located in the lower West Side of Chicago. The neighborhoods near Pilsen are South Lawndale, Bridge Port,Near West Side, Mckinley Park,The South Loop, Little Italy and University Village.

Pilsen Attractions

Some of Pilsen's Attractions are The National Museum of Mexican Art, The Nightwood Restaurant, And the EP Theater (Performing Arts Center).

The National Museum of Mexican Art: The first Mexican Cultural Museum in the United States. The largest of its kind in the nation. It has over 7,000 objects that's a permanent collection of its kind in the United States.

The Nightwood Restaurant: The menu is written by hand each day. The food is brought straight from the farm to the table.They use a woodfire grill for cooking.

The EP Theater: Specializing in experimental and dramatic productions. Seats only around 50 audience members. Established in 2004.

History of Pilsen

Pilsen is a neighborhood in the lower West Side community in Chicago.German and Irish immigrants settled in this area in the1940's, encouraged by the construction of the Southwestern Plank Road(a significant route of trade  from the hinterland into Chicago, which is now Ogden Avenue), the Illinois & Michigan Canal (the South Branch of the Chicago River forms the Southern and Eastern boarders of the neighborhood),also the Burlington railroad (the western boundary of Pilsen.)

After the 1871 fire the McCormick Reaper Company (later International Harvester), lumber mills, garment fishing sweatshops, and railroad yard jobs defined the neighborhood. The creation of unskilled jobs in the 1870's lured many Bohemian immigrants to settle beside Evans Street (18th street). When one  Bohemian resident created and opened a restaurant called "At The City of Plzen" to honor the second largest city located in West Bohemia (now located in Czech Republic) residents began to look at the neighborhood as Pilsen. The subsequent naming of a post office as Pilsen Station Institutionalized the moniker.

Mexican became predominant in the 1950's and 60's. This traditional shift spurred cultural changes in Pilsen, as  a Mexican artists decorated the neighborhood with colorful murals and mosaics.

From Eastern Europeans to Mexican residents,  Pilsen's tradition of strong working-class community have had a strong impact on Chicago. People the likes  of Rubin Torres neighborhood based newsletter the Crown (1938-1998) Saul Alinsky community organizer, and Rudy Lazano, labor organizer and union worker official,has helped propel anti-machine politicians like Harold Washington into elected office and keep them there.

Ethnic Groups of Pilsen

The Pilsen area has a rich immigrant history of Germans, Irish, Czechs, Slovens, Slovaks, Croatians, Austrians, Polish, Lithuanians, and Mexicans. They originated from Eastern Europe, Mexico, Czech Republic and Austro-Hungrian Empire.

Fun  Fact: For nearly 150 years Pilsen has been a "Port or entry" for thousands of immigrants.