- Andrew Jameson
- 21st and Ashland
More neighborhood nuggets from Sweet Home Chicago 2, published by Chicago Review Press in 1977. Here’s the one on Pilsen:
Once a Bohemian enclave, now a Latino community centered around 18th Street between Halsted and Blue Island, Pilsen is full of sturdy brick cottages that date back to the 1860s. There has recently been a resurgence of community spirit in Pilsen, occasioned by a long, ultimately successful struggle for a new high school and by the residents’ determination to fight the Chicago 21 Plan’s proposed “New Town,” which is supposed to be built on several square miles of unused railroad land immediately to the north. Pilsen’s leaders are afraid that the new development would have a spill-over effect, causing affluent “Anglos” to move in and rents to rise. To a limited extent, this is already happening: the area has been “discovered” by a number of young entrepreneurs who are buying and remodeling apartment buildings and, so far at least, maintaining an uneasy truce with their Spanish-speaking neighbors.