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.