Unique Urbanity: Chicago's Pilsen
Pilsen is a neighborhood of Chicago located on the Lower West Side of the city. Historically a first-stop neighborhood for American immigrants, following the Great Fire of 1871, Pilsen was initially settled by Czech immigrants who named the district after Plzen, a city in what is now the Czech Republic.
22. The intersection of West 18th and Throop streets.
24. Storefronts along West 18th Street just west of Blue Island Avenue. Blue Island Avenue is named after a ridge called “Blue Island” that the street once connected the City of Chicago with.
25. Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza near the intersection of West 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue. Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio opened the first Giordano’s in 1974 on the city’s historic south side. The restaurant is side to be the originator of the Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza.
26. Memo’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs on West 18th Street between Laflin and Bishop streets.
28. According to the Chicago Tribue’s analysis of Chicago police statistics, Ashland Avenue is the deadliest street in the city for pedestrians.
29. Peter Cooper Public School. Today, the school is known as the Peter Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy. It is named after the 19th century inventor, manufacturer and philanthropist who’s work later served as a model for Andrew Carnegie’s stewardship of wealth.
30. Pilsen is served by the Chicago “L” system’s Pink Line. The elevated heavy rail line dates back to 1895 when it was constructed and operated by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad.
33. Family owned and operated, El Popocatepetl Tortilleria is a fresh masa and tortilla products maker located at the intersection of South Wolcott Avenue and West 21st Street.
34. Looking east down West Cermak Road
36. The intersection of Cermak Road, Ashland Avenue and Blue Island Avenue was an important junction of three streetcar lines in the early 20th century.
37. Named after Mexican president Benito Pablo Juárez García, the Benito Juarez Community Academy is the largest public high school in Pilsen. The school was established in 1977.
40. Completed in 1911 and expanded in 1917, the Thompson & Taylor Spice Company factory and warehouse was built with brick and geometric terra cotta decorations to serve as a symbol of the company during an era when rail and barge traffic dominated Pilsen’s economy. Founded by Alexander Thompson and James Taylor in 1873, the company specialized in coffee and spices. Today, the building at 500 West Cermak Road is occupied by U-Haul.
41. South Branch Chicago River
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at email@example.com