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Lower West Side Tour: Sites C & D
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Site C
Casa Aztlan at 1831 S. Racine with its colorful murals symbolizes the ethnic and cultural changes which have taken place in Pilsen. Founded in 1905 as the Howell Neighborhood House, this was a Presbyterian settlement serving Bohemian and Slavic children in the area. Since 1970 the institution has been known as Casa Aztlan, reflecting its role as a Mexican-American center. After years of support by church groups, the institution is now sustained by grants from foundations such as the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to sponsoring traditional settlement activities such as English language classes, Casa Aztlan places special emphasis upon Mexican culture-dance, art, and theater. It also provides alternative activities for young people who might otherwise join local gangs. The above photograph shows Casa Aztlan in 1985. Notice Its exterior murals, painted by Ray Patlan from 1970 to 1973, which have recently been refurbished.

Site D
Turn left on 18th Street and go six blocks west to Paulina Street (1700 West). St. Procopius Church (1883) at the northeast corner of 18th and Allport (1235 West) was the first Bohemian Catholic church built in Pilsen, the "mother parish" of Bohemian Catholic communities throughout the West Side. Institutions which trace their origins to this Czech parish Include Illinois Benedictine College and St. Procopius Abbey in suburban Lisle, Illinois. The photograph at right shows 18th Street looking east toward Allport in 1985. Notice St. Procopius Church, visible in the distance.

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