Polonia Triangle Neighborhood Tour

Category: Tours

Used in the following map:

Labor Trail

Centered at the corner of Division and Milwaukee, this tour traces the development of the old Polish Downtown. Located near this commercial triangle were once all the major institutions of the Polish-America, a mainstay of Chicago's turn-of-the-twentieth-century blue-collar community. The fountain within the Triangle holds an inscription: "For the Masses Who Do the City's Labor Also Keep the City's Heart." As industrial workers, Poles, like the Germans who preceded them, clustered around the Northwest Side's large-scale industries, including leather and tanning, iron and steel, furniture and machine tools. In the early years of the 20th century, Milwaukee Ave. was known as "dinner pail avenue" for the number of laborers trudging to and from work. Only a trace of the city's northern manufacturing district, which initially lined the North Branch of the Chicago River (and subsequently spread along the Clybourn and Elston Street corridors) remains. Yet, even as more upscale residences continue to transform today's Bucktown-Wicker Park district, the immigrants' creation of what they once called "Stanislova" is evident in ornate churches, home construction – from tenements to two-flats to bungalows – public bathhouses, and park grounds.

Important sites in the Polonia Triangle include:

*Gutmann Tannery
*A. Finkl & Sons
"*Milwaukee two-flats"
*Kosciusko Public Bath
*Immigrant tenement housing
*Pulaski Park and Fieldhouse
*St. Stanislaus Kostka
*Polish Womens Alliance
*Polish Bank and Newspaper Building
*Former home of the Polish National Alliance
*Holy Trinity Church
*Northwestern University Settlement House
*National headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union