by Las Fotos Project
South Lawndale, most commonly known as La Villita, is the largest Mexican neighborhood in the city of Chicago – only Los Angeles and New York have larger Latino populations. The first of Chicago’s nearly 600,000 Mexicans arrived to work on the railroad just after the turn of the century and more came to man steel mills during World War II. Little Village has such rich history and beauty that we decided to take a trip down to the neighborhood with one goal on mind: give you (the reader) a tour of our adored La Villita.
Here’s the entrance to the neighborhood. As you can tell, we couldn’t wait to start taking some photos.
The three of us grew up in Little Village our entire lives. Our family moved about six years ago, but we still have fond memories of our little community. We were raised Catholic, so every Sunday afternoon we would attend misa at St. Agnes de Bohemia. The church was remodeled a few years back, adding more vivid colors and accentuating the existing beauty of the structure.
Here’s another perspective of the church’s interior.
When taking a stroll down La Villita’s 26th Street, you will come across various works of art. Bright colors are used in shops and businesses, particularly restaurants. A prime example is Nuevo Leon where a striking pattern and color scheme is incorporated into the exterior walls of the restaurant. Amazing, right?
Here’s something else we want to show you. This lovely mural is located next to a bank, down the street from St. Agnes. To us, it represents immigrant families, assimilation, and staying true to your culture. We come from a close-knit Mexican family, who immigrated to the United States nearly 20 years ago, so the three of us can really identify with the message of this mural.
As we mentioned, Little Village is booming with little shops. Over a thousand businesses make their home in Little Village which, despite its name, is actually one of the larger communities in Chicago. It’s a very community-conscious part of the city, focused on a commitment to its residents, their families and businesses. Our favorite business is a bakery called BOMBON, which sells really tasty deserts and cakes. While we’re here, why not make a pit stop? Yum!
Thanks for coming along on our tour of La Villita! Hope you enjoyed the community as much as we do. We couldn’t figure out how to incorporate these two photos into our story, but really wanted to share them with you. They don’t just capture the city’s energy, they literally spell it out for you. Do you see it? J
Our featured photographers today were the Anguiano sisters of Berwyn, Illinois. To see more of their photographs, click here.
Las Fotos Project. Empowering Latina youth through photography.
For information about Las Fotos Project, visit Las Fotos Project Facebook page.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.