Pilsen Factory Flips Residential With 99 New Homes
Dec27

Pilsen Factory Flips Residential With 99 New Homes

There’s been a modicum of speculation about the old abandoned factory at 1432 West 21st Street over the last year or so. Ever since it went on the market, people have noticed that its location, close to the intersection of Blue Island Avenue, schools, parks, and lots of yummy new development, made it seem like a no-brainer for residential conversion. And so it shall be, according to new construction permits issued by the city of...

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Slice of Life: Can The St. Adalbert Towers Be Saved?
Apr15

Slice of Life: Can The St. Adalbert Towers Be Saved?

Demolition of historic structures will always raise passion levels to peak anxiety. When the subject of said demise involves an old Chicago church, that angst skyrockets through the roof. Just ask fans of the former Saint Dominic’s Church in Cabrini-Green, or West Town’s Saint Boniface, just to name two. Saint Boniface still has a chance to be saved, but the venerable Saint Dominic lives on only in memory. Now...

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Colorful Pilsen Neighborhood Loses Landmark Nuevo Leon To Fire
Dec02

Colorful Pilsen Neighborhood Loses Landmark Nuevo Leon To Fire

The colorful, mural-filled stretch of West 18th Street in Pilsen just lost a landmark–Nuevo Leon Restaurant at 1515 West 18th was destroyed by fire just after midnight on December 1. An extra-alarm fire spread from Nuevo Leon to neighboring Tortilleria Sabinas. The restaurant was known for both its tacos de sabinas and its multi-colored façade. There is no shortage of mural art along this stretch of West 16th Street and...

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Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom Celebrates The Holiday With Four Shiny New Tanks
Dec29

Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom Celebrates The Holiday With Four Shiny New Tanks

Santa Claus might just be a craft beer aficionado. That could explain the arrival last week of four shiny new stainless steel tanks at Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom. The massive Pilsen brewery at 1843 South Washtenaw welcomed the German-made tanks with open arms. It’s part of the brewery’s master plan to ramp up production and take advantage of the growing popularity of craft beer. Current production capacity for Lagunitas Chicago is...

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12 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Thalia Hall
Aug05

12 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Thalia Hall

  At the corner of 18th and Allport Street in the Pilsen neighborhood, there is a large, imposing building. It was built in 1892 by a saloonkeeper named John Dusek (pronounced “DOO-sheck”). The building has changed hands many times over the past 120 years, and witnessed a significant change in the surrounding community as its demographics shifted from Bohemian to Mexican-American. The sturdy building has miraculously remained...

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Great Neighborhood Walks Of Chicago: Bienvenidos a Pilsen
Jul21

Great Neighborhood Walks Of Chicago: Bienvenidos a Pilsen

Chicago truly is a series of one fascinating neighborhood after another. If you’re armed with a camera and interested in seeing an especially colorful area, it’s hard to beat Pilsen. Today I joined a dozen street photographers to absorb the sights, smells and sounds of the Pilsen neighborhood. We stuck mostly to the heart of the action along 18th Street, meandering down an alleyway here and there. We viewed ornate old churches,...

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Pilsen Artists Use Old Tech And Current Thoughts to Make Social Statements
Mar17

Pilsen Artists Use Old Tech And Current Thoughts to Make Social Statements

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A musician walks into an old macaroni factory and starts a printing company. The musician is Jamiel Dado. He and his wife Elizabeth Isakson-Dado are creating one-of-a-kind art posters at their six-month-old Tandem Felix Letterpress. The company is located at 2150 South Canalport Avenue at the Lacuna Artist Lofts in Pilsen. Tandem Felix shares space with a number of galleries in the former...

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Gulliver, Not in Lilliput, But in the Heart of Pilsen
Oct23

Gulliver, Not in Lilliput, But in the Heart of Pilsen

Driving or walking through Pilsen, you quickly become acclimated to the colors, sights and sounds that influence the vibrant neighborhood. Especially the sights. Street art is in abundance along 16th street, although the images tend to be raw and random. If you want to see a truly unique work of public art, you need only venture to 1900 West Cullerton Street. That’s the site of Hector Duarte’s studio, one of the popular stops on the...

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Adaptive reuse goes Bohemian at Thalia Hall
Oct15

Adaptive reuse goes Bohemian at Thalia Hall

John Dušek knew a thing or two about bringing the community together. In the early 1890s, Dusek developed a grand, massive public space to do just that. The building—known as Thalia Hall—sits at 1807 South Allport Street at 18th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood. And, in a fitting tribute to the theater on the upper level, Thalia Hall is now enjoying a second act. The building was an early example of a mixed-use development. It was...

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A Look at the Street Art and Artists of Chicago’s Near West Side
Mar19

A Look at the Street Art and Artists of Chicago’s Near West Side

I was walking down Halsted Street between Lake and Randolph when I first saw a work of art by CLS. If you aren’t familiar with Reyes, Roa or Banksy, you might not recognize CLS, either. These guys don’t have their art hanging in the Field Museum or Art Institute. They are street artists. It’s an art form unique to large urban areas. Street art is part of the fabric of cities from New York to Berlin, and of course,...

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