One of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods lies in Community area 31 on the Lower Westside.
While it is now widely hailed as the Heart of the Mexican community, in the 19th century Pilsen was inhabited by Czech immigrants who named it for Plzen, a city in the now Czech Republic. Shortly thereafter Slavic and other European immigrants made Pilsen their home as it thrived with industrial, factory and stockyard work. The Hispanic population began immigrating to Pilsen in the 1950’s and became the majority in the 1960’s.
The late, legendary George Halas was raised in Pilsen. Rich in history and architecture, Pilsen has long been home to some of Chicago’s most beautiful and incredible murals. Nowadays, thanks to Alderman Danny Solis who has been an awesome champion for the 25th Ward, these pieces of art are now not only gorgeous but purposeful.
Solis, a former school teacher, has been at the helm of this multi-cultured neighborhood since 1996. His brilliant response to the graffiti plague is inspirational. Alderman Solis brainstormed using the talent of Chicago’s Mexican Art community to beautify the most de-faced streets and store-fronts to make lovely cover over the mindless and ugly. It has been a most welcome and encouraging answer.
Interested? You can take a guided 60-90 minute customized tour that departs from the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th Street 773-342-4191