South Lawndale, Chicago
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Little Village/Marshall Square
|Community Area 30 – South Lawndale|
26th Street in Little Village
Location within the city of Chicago
|• Total||4.4 sq mi (11.5 km2)|
|• Density||17,000/sq mi (6,400/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
parts of 60608 and 60623
|Median household income||$30,701|
|Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services|
South Lawndale, one of Chicago's 77 well-defined community areas, is on the West Side of the city of Chicago, Illinois. It is notable for having two well-known neighborhoods, Little Village and Marshall Square.
Now mainly inhabited by Mexican-Americans, Little Village was originally settled by Eastern European and Czech and Bohemian immigrants in the late 19th century, after the Great Chicago Fire sent the population of Chicago rippling out from the city's center to the outlying countryside. Jobs created by industrial development in the early 20th century also attracted residents to the area.
The neighborhood is called "Mexico of the Midwest" by many of its residents. Little Village celebrates Mexican Independence Day every September with a parade down 26th Street. It is the largest Hispanic parade in Chicago. The Parade attracts thousands of spectators each year who flock to the neighborhood to show support and pride for their heritage.
Little Village also boasts its economic power in Chicago. Little Village's 26th street is the second highest grossing shopping district in the city. In 2015, the 2 mile street created $900 million dollars in sales. Its contender, Michigan Avenue, made approximately $1.8 billion dollars that same year.
For green spaces and recreation in Little Village, residents can make a visit to the community parks. Washtenaw Park has a baseball diamond and offers a variety of arts and crafts classes for adults as well as day camps for kids. Shedd Park is a little park in Little Village named for John G. Shedd (known to most Chicagoans as the founder of the Shedd Aquarium). Piotrowski Park is the neighborhood's largest public park and is the most popular outdoor retreat for Little Village residents.
Famous past residents of Little Village include former Mayor Anton Cermak, who lived in the 2300 block of S. Millard Avenue, across the street from Lazaro Cardenas Elementary. Pat Sajak was also a Little Village resident. He attended Gary Elementary School, and Farragut High School.
In 2011, a music festival called Villapalooza was founded to promote non-violent spaces for arts, culture, and community engagement. This festival has been held yearly and has grown into one of Chicago's most popular and diverse grassroots music festivals drawing both local and international musicians. The festival is free and open to the public.
On August 26, 2018, a fire began early that morning in Little Village. The fire killed ten children, including six children under the age of 12. Investigators stated that the fire started in the back of the building in a ground-floor apartment, which was vacant.
The fire is the deadliest residential fire to have occurred in Chicago since 1958. In the aftermath of the fire, multiple violations were found in the apartment where the fire occurred with apartment owner, Merced Gutierrez, appearing in court for the 40 violations found at the site of the fire.
Marshall Square is a neighborhood in the northeast corner of the South Lawndale Community Area, named for the square formed by Marshall Boulevard, 24th Boulevard, Cermak Road, and California Avenue. It is bounded roughly by Kedzie Avenue on the west, 26th Street on the south, the BNSF Railway tracks (2000 South) on the north, and the Western Avenue Corridor railroad tracks (2500 West) on the east. The bulk of the Marshall Square neighborhood falls within the aldermanic boundaries of the 12th Ward. According to the Chicago Museum History Research Center, James A. Marshall, for whom Marshall Boulevard was named, lived in Chicago in the 1830s, opened a dancing school, and served as secretary of the Chicago Real Estate Board in 1833.
Although these days Marshall Square is widely considered by many of its residents to simply be the easternmost part of Little Village, with many businesses in the area using the Little Village name, the architecture reflects the distinct style of Pilsen homes. Marshall Square also has close ties with the southeast corner of North Lawndale, with a sizable Mexican population around the southern half of Douglas Park.
Points of interest include: the art-deco Marshall Square Theater at Cermak Road and Marshall Boulevard, which was originally a vaudeville venue, later a silent movie theater, and currently a venue for banquets, weddings, and Latin music under the current name of "Apollo's 2000"; the remaining building of the former Albaugh-Dover mail-order warehouse and factory on Marshall Boulevard at 21st Street; the massive Carter Harrison High School at 24th Boulevard and Marshall Boulevard, now an elementary school named for Maria Saucedo, an area teacher who lost her life in a fire in 1981, and is the alma mater of clarinet player Benny Goodman and newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet; and the highly visible statue of Marquette and Joliet which stands at the junction between Marshall and 24th Boulevards
Enlace Chicago operates within eight Chicago Public Schools in Little Village: Farragut, World Language, Infinity, Social Justice and Multicultural Arts High Schools and at Rosario Castellanos and Madero Middle Schools and Eli Whitney grammar school. "Enlace Chicago Community Schools."
- "Community Data Snapshot - South Lawndale" (PDF). cmap.illinois.gov. MetroPulse. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- "South Lawndale, aka Little Village | WBEZ". www.wbez.org. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
- Gellman, Erik. "Little Village". In Keating, Ann Durkin, ed. (2008). Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide, p. 198. University of Chicago Press.
- "Check out Chicago's other Mag Mile: 26th Street in Little Village #ccb". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
- Gerasole, Vince. "Little Village Retail Strip Is Second Highest Grossing in City". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
- "Home". Villapalooza - Little VIllage Music Fest. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
- "Apartment Fire Kills 10 Children In Chicago's Little Village Neighborhood". NPR. August 27, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- "Chicago briefings: 44 violations at site of Little Village fire". Daily Herald. September 1, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- “Chicago Streets,” Chicago History Museum Research Center, accessed Jun 19, 2015, http://www.chsmedia.org/househistory/namechanges/start.pdf.
- Alvarez, René Luis. "A Community that Would Not Take 'No' for an Answer: Mexican Americans, the Chicago Public Schools, and the Founding of Benito Juarez High School," Journal of Illinois History (2014) 17:1 pp 78-98. CITED: p. 88.
- "UNO Charter Schools Archived 2012-04-30 at the Wayback Machine." United Neighborhood Organization. Retrieved on June 16, 2012.
- Paral, Rob. "Chicago Community Areas Historical Data". Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Sanchez, Casey. "Turf War: Little Village Fights for Park." Extra. (date unknown) 2005
- Official City of Chicago South Lawndale Community Map
- Enlace Chicago on Facebook
- Little Village Chamber of Commerce
- La Villita Community on Facebook
- La Villita Community on Twitter
- Marshall Square Online
- Maria Saucedo bio
- Marshall Square Theater
- St. Agnes of Bohemia in Little Village
- St. Agnes of Bohemia School in Little Village