THREATENED: Czech Athletic Club Buildings Would be Protected by Pilsen Landmark District

“It’s fitting that the words ‘Plzensky Sokol’ etched into the stone facade of a vacant building in Pilsen are now covered up by a temporary “For Lease” banner.

“The history and legacy of Sokols, which are buildings that housed Czech social, cultural, and athletic clubs and once thrived in the Chicago area, have largely been forgotten. As a result, dozens of the historic century-old facilities are gradually disappearing.

“A lot of them are being torn down and we’re losing a lot of history,” said Paul Lebloch, a past president of the World Sokol Federation. “It’s sad they don’t honor these historic places and the people who built them.”

“In rapidly gentrifying Pilsen, two endangered Sokol buildings remain: The Plzensky Sokol at 1812 South Ashland Avenue and the Czesky Slavonsky Americky Sokol (C.S.A.S is carved in the arched stone entrance to the building) at 1436-1430 West 18th Street. But they may have an ally in the city of Chicago. Last month, the Chicago Landmarks Commission voted in favor of establishing an official Pilsen Historic District to help preserve a wide swath of the aging Bohemian structures, including both remaining Sokols. The City Council has yet to rule on the final proposal, which would solidify protection for the historic buildings.” (Smith, 6/14/19)

Read the full article at Curbed Chicago
Saving Pilsen’s 100-year-old Sokols, the historic Czech athletic clubs; A historic district could protect two endangered buildings that once defined the Czech neighborhood, Ryan Smith, Curbed Chicago, June 14, 2019

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