After the Chicago Fire of 1871, Pilsen became a center of manufacturing and a major industrial area. It was not until the hardships of the Great Depression and the housing crisis during World War II that the working-class area was strained by industries closing their plants.
However, the urban renewal in the Near West Side along with the construction of the Stevenson Expressway helped to revitalize the area. Many Mexican residents moved further south into Pilsen from the Near West Side with the convenience of the Stevenson Expressway followed by further immigration into Pilsen with the closing of the meatpacking plants and stockyard districts.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mexicans from out of state, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans from North Lawndale also moved into the area. Pilsen remains an entry point for working-class migrants and is also home to the National Museum of Mexican Art. Many continue to struggle against poverty and discrimination as they receive help from mutual benefit societies
information courtesy of Moody Publishers
"Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide" by Dr. John Fuder with Elizabeth Koenig
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