Little Village History

Traveling under an arch stretching powerfully over 26th Street while heading west at Albany Avenue, a visitor is immediately aware that he or she has entered the Mexican and Mexican American enclave of Little Village, La Villita. Situated between the Stevenson Expressway at its southern limits and stretching roughly along Cermak Road to the north, with Western Avenue and Cicero as its east to west boundaries, South Lawndale was settled first in the aftermath of the Fire of 1871 by Germans and Czechs (Bohemians). Successive groups such as Poles, and now Hispanics, have followed to take advantage of employment opportunities in nearby industry.

This blue-collar community area has experienced major economic dislocations since the late 1960s, with the closure of the huge International Harvester plant in the southeast quadrant and the Western Electric complex along its western boundary…

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