One of my favorite Chicago intersections is Jefferson, Cermak and Lumber in East Pilsen, just west of the Chicago River.
The street names themselves conjure Chicago’s past. Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, together with the Homestead Act, made real his vision of a nation peopled by agricultural yeomen. The forests of Michigan and Wisconsin traversed the Chicago River to the docks and vast lumber yards of Pilsen, where rail lines fanned out to the lumber-starved farms of Nebraska, Iowa and other parts of the Midwest. Mayor Anton Cermak’s Czech origins mirrored those of many of Pilsen’s early residents.
Join me for a look at a piece of old Chicago.