OUT OF THE LOOP: CHICAGO’S PILSEN NEIGHBORHOOD

In the shadow of the Sears Tower, oh sorry, I mean “Willis Tower”, lies the cultural gem of a neighborhood referred to as Pilsen. Just southwest of downtown Chicago, this neighborhood was originally settled by German and Irish immigrants. Eventually Bohemian people made their way there and named the area after Plzeň, a city in the Czech Republic. 

By the middle of the 20th century, a large group of Mexican immigrants had settled in the area and created the foundation of what this neighborhood is today. The community is filled with taquerias, an occasional carnitas hot-spot (where you can find morsels of slow cooked pork goodness) and an abundance of other Mexican-American owned businesses. Architecture, both old and new contributes to the interesting infrastructure and the colorful murals on the sides of the buildings remind you of the strong culture surrounding you. Street art and graffiti along with handmade religious shrines are everywhere, telling every passerby a story and giving the area a look like no other neighborhood in the city. 

Hidden behind the colorful graffiti, is a determined community of artists that were originally drawn to the area because of the inexpensive rent and cultural inspiration. In recent years, the neighborhood is slowly gentrifying like so many other Chicago neighborhoods have. But despite these recent changes, Pilsen is holding on to its original character due to the strong foundation it was built upon.       

* * *

Dan Caruso is a Guide to Illinois and Wisconsin. He grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Chicago to get his masters degree in architecture. He currently works as a project manager for a small local architecture firm, is trying to break into real estate, and wishes he was a photographer. You can see Dan’s photographs on flickr and his tumblr page, jonnyoptimo.tumblr.com. He also likes to keep his trigger finger loose on instagram.

WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)
Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 
Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.
But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 
[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]
* * *
Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

WELCOME TO CORTEZ

CORTEZ, 200.5 m.  (6,198 alt., 921 pop.), seat of Montezuma County, is a trading center for sheep and cattle raisers who pasture their herds on the sage flats to the west.  The town was founded in 1887 when ranchers first pushed into the Montezuma Valley; many of the tan sandstone buildings were erected during that period.  Cortez is interesting on Saturday nights, when its main street is filled with ranchers, farmers, and Indians; the latter are usually dressed in brilliant velveteens and calicoes, and aglitter with silver and turquoise jewelry. (…) The majority are Ute, although there is a sprinkling of Navaho and Piute.

— Colorado: A Guide To the Highest State (WPA, 1941)

Today Cortez is a town of 8,500 people.  It is still the seat of Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado.  The main industries are tourism, energy, and agriculture, and Saturday nights tend to be quiet. 

Most tourists who visit Cortez are headed for Mesa Verde National Park.  And don’t get me wrong, Mesa Verde is great.  Along with the famous cliff dwellings, the park has an old school museum, the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, full of dioramas and displays made by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers in the 1930s.  There’s also a sweet new visitor center right at the park entrance.  And from the top of the mesa, you can see forever.

But if you go to Cortez, spend a day or two at Mesa Verde, and leave, you will have missed out on what makes this area so special. 

[Read more over at textless.tumblr.com…]

* * *

Amadee Ricketts is an At-Large Guide to the West. She’s worked as a cemetary groundskeeper, a shoeshine valet, and a bill collector. More recently, she’s been a children’s librarian in five states. She takes a lot of pictures and lives near Durango, CO. You can see her photos at textless.tumblr.com.

#AmericanGuideWeek touches down in Topeka, Kansas, courtesy of tubercul0sis:

When I was young I would always wonder what he was yelling about.

You’re looking at John Steuart Curry’s painting, Tragic Prelude (1938-1940), depicting John Brown and housed in the State Capitol.

Thanks to tubercul0sis for the glimpse inside the Kansan corridors of power. You can follow him  on Tumblr, Instagram, or Twitter.