Slice of Life: The Polish Alma Mater

The great thing about signs carved in stone is that they so often outlive those for whom they were carved, and thus leave us a trail back into history.  This sign for the “Polish Alma Mater” was spotted above the door of a commercial building built in 1896 at 1643 West Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown.  It reminds us that this section of Chicago used to be a lot more Polish than it is now.  This building once housed a Macierz Polska — a Polish aid society.  Many immigrant groups form these when they come to a new country.  You can see a number of current examples down in Chinatown.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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