West Side (continued)
Although Pilsen ceased to be predominantly Bohemian after the
turn of the century, it remained a Slavic community. By 1930,
for example, immigrants from Poland and Yugoslavia accounted for
more than one-fourth of the 16,000 persons who lived in the area
bounded by 16th, Carpenter, 22nd, and Ashland. As Bohemians moved
further west in the city and to suburbs such as Berwyn and Riverside,
Croatians, Slovaks, Slovenes, and Lithuanians took their place.
While these groups formed their own churches and fraternal groups,
they patronized Bohemian-owned businesses such as the Leader Department
Store at 1700 West 18th Street.
In Heart of Chicago and South Lawndale, the ethnic population
also expanded to include Eastern Europeans of many different backgrounds.
One indication of this change appeared in the formation of Slovene
and Italian parishes. In 1898 Slovenian Catholics purchased a
Swedish church at 22nd Place and Lincoln (Wolcott). which they
rededicated as St. Stephen Church. Likewise, in 1903 Italians
from Tuscany began the parish of St. Michael in the basement of
the former Swedish Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church on 24th
Place near Oakley.
While Bohemians continued to form the largest national group
in South Lawndale well into the 1940s, Polish families moved into
the neighborhood in large numbers. According to the 1930 census,
nearly 11,000 immigrants from Czechoslovakia and 3,700 foreign-born
Poles lived in the area bounded by the Burlington railroad tracks,
California 30th, and Crawford. Statistics indicate that the area
of heaviest Polish concentration was along 22nd Street renamed
Cermak Road after the mayors assassination in 1933. The area south
of 26th Street between Kedzie and Crawford. however, was still
a Bohemian stronghold in 1930 with large numbers of Czech immigrants.
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