West Lawn, Chicago
West Lawn, one of Chicago's 77 official community areas, is located on the southwest side of the city. It is considered to be a "melting pot" of sorts, due to its constant change of races moving in and out of the area, as well as the diversity that exists there. It has a small town atmosphere in the big city. West Lawn is home to many Polish-Americans, Irish-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and other people of Latin American and Eastern European origin. The current Alderman of the West Lawn community is Alderman Marty Quinn.
|Community Area 65 - West Lawn|
Aerial view of West Lawn
Location within the city of Chicago
|• Total||2.98 sq mi (7.72 km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
part of 60629
|Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services|
Chicago Lawn, to the east, was settled while the marshy land of West Lawn remained unsettled. Some housing was built during the 1920s, but it still remained swampy land. Houses were built during the 1930s which then reported German-Americans, Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, Czech-Americans and Italian-Americans living in the area. The area had been growing until the Great Depression, when the economy declined. After World War II, growth continued and new houses and streets were built. The Airport Homes race riots of 60th & Karlov in 1946 were intended to keep black people out of the area. After the 1970s, more Mexican-Americans, Arab-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Polish immigrants started settling the area.
One small business in the neighborhood, the Capitol Cigar Store at 63rd and Pulaski, features a tall Native American statue as the landmark of West Lawn. The statue is most notable for being seen in the movie Wayne's World. West Lawn is also the home of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture along Pulaski. It was founded by Lithuanian-American businessman Stanley Balzekas Jr., and is the only museum in the US devoted to the subjects of Lithuania, the Lithuanian language, history, culture and politics, and to the Lithuanian-American experience.
Ford City is a neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago which immediately surrounds the Ford City Mall, in turn named for the Ford Aircraft plant which previously occupied the site; the location was also the site of the Dodge Chicago Plant, which after World War II became the factory for the Tucker Car Corporation. In the future, the Orange Line of the Chicago "L" might be extended here.
- Michael Madigan, 67th and 69th Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He is a current resident of, and incumbent member of the Illinois House of Representatives for, West Lawn.
- Frank Savickas, member of the Illinois Senate from 1970 until 1992. He resided in West Lawn during his political career, later moving to Venice, Florida.
- Leo Stefanos, inventor of the DoveBar.
- "Community Data Snapshot - West Lawn" (PDF). cmap.illinois.gov. MetroPulse. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
- Paral, Rob. "Chicago Community Areas Historical Data". Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- McClelland, Edward (March 8, 2012). "Madigan Gets No Love From Trib, Plenty From Neighborhood Paper". Ward Room. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Headley, Kathleen; Krol, Tracy (October 19, 2015). Legendary Locals of Chicago Lawn and West Lawn. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 86. ISBN 9781439654095.
- Pearson, Rick (May 16, 2001). "Frank D. Savickas, 66: Legislator known for independence". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Bauer, Kelly (November 5, 2015). "Meet 4 'Legendary Locals' Featured in a Book About Chicago and West Lawn". DNAinfo. Retrieved January 1, 2018.