SINCE 1976, Eighteenth Street Development Corporation (ESDC) has served the Pilsen community on the Lower West Side of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois. A largely Latino neighborhood, Pilsen is bounded by 16th Street to the north, Western Avenue to the west and the South Branch of the Chicago River to the south and east.
Over the past 130 years Pilsen has served as a point of entry for new immigrant groups. Located on Chicago’s Near West Side, just a few miles from the Loop, Pilsen predates the Chicago fire, and its buildings were not destroyed by flames. The area was first home to predominately German immigrants, then Czech, and finally about 50 years ago Mexican families.
Currently, Hispanic working class families make up the majority of residents, though a decreasing number are first generation immigrants to the United States. Along the southern boundary runs an industrial corridor that has always employed a large percentage of Pilsen’s residents. Eighteenth Street serves as the area’s main commercial corridor with a crowded, colorful assortment of retail shops.
The formation of ESDC in 1976 was in response to ... Our original mission of the time was to advance affordable housing for the community...