Monday, May 7, 2012

"Races Shift Like Sand - West Side Scene of Some Strange Migrations ... How the GREEKS Came, Seemingly in a Night ..." article - Chicago Daily Tribune, September 26, 1902


Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, September 26, 1902

RACES SHIFT LIKE SAND.
-----
WEST SIDE SCENE OF SOME
STRANGE MIGRATIONS.
-----
In the Crowded District East of Halsted Street
the Jews are Steadily Spreading Northward -
Bohemian Colony is Wiped Out -
How the Greeks came, Seemingly in a Night -
They Make Their Homes with the Italians,
Who Are Moving South.

In the crowded west side district bounded by Halsted, Canal, Harrison, and Sixteenth streets a gradual but persistent migration of races is in progress.  The Jews from the southeast portion of the area are working steadily northward.  Twelfth street, formerly regarded as the northern boundary of the Ghetto, has been passed, and the Hebrew invasion is now face to face with the Italian settlements at De Koven street.  An extensive Bohemian colony once located below Twelfth street has gone, and its place has been taken by the Hebrews.

The Italians in the northern part of the district have been reinforced by numerous Greeks within the year.  A general tendency to overflow Halsted street and spread westward is also marked.

The first settlers of this portion of Chicago were Americans and Germans.  A few of these nationalities have always remained in the midst of the strange medley of races that has since occupied the greater part of the district.  Among the first successors of these pioneers in the southern half were many Bohemians.  Around the Bohemians, Russian and Polish Jews established themselves, and to the north Italians early appeared.  Through the tract a few Irish were found, and these have best withstood the encroachment of the invaders.

Bohemians the First to Go.

The disappearance of the Bohemians, who moved westward to the populous area occupied by their countrymen along West Eighteenth street, was the first significant stage of the new migration.  All trace of them is practically obliterated now, and the Russian Jews took possession of the places where they lived.

In turn these former subjects of the czar had been working north in Canal street and along the eastern border of the tract.  There seems to be a marked antipathy between this people and others of the district.  As soon as a Jewish family gets a foothold in a tenement other occupants vacate.  In the Semitic encroachment the Italians were occasionally victorious and checked them.  Generally, however, they gave way.

Two years ago there was a large influx of Roumanian Jews, and more are expected soon.  Oddly enough many of those immigrants spoke Spanish, being descendants of the Jews that were expelled from Andalusia with the overthrow of the Moors.

Greeks Appear in a Night.

With the sudden appearance of several thousand Greeks in the northern end of the Italian settlement began the latest phase of the evolution.

"They were the first Greeks that have been in the district," a Hull house officer said yesterday.  "We knew nothing of them until one night we observed the street and the saloon above us in Halsted street were filled with them.  They were young men, and had arrived recently in search of work.  Gradually they have assimilated with the Italians, with whom they seemed to fraternize.  The two races now occupy houses and rooms together, and many of the Greeks have married Italians.  These Greeks have a way of living in extremely congested quarters.  They gather by dozens, and sleep in sheds or barns, or wherever they can find shelter.  Consequently, their coming has increased the population of the quarter, hitherto all Italian, and solidified it."

Miss Addams said she regarded the departure of the Bohemians and the incursion of the Greeks as the most striking features of the migration.  The gains of the Jews, however, she said, had been so gradual it t was difficult to appreciate it.  That these advances have been permanent is shown by the charts in Hull House.

N. Salapoulos, Greek consul in Chicago, explained the movement of his countrymen with the statement the majority of the 3,000 immigrants that reach American each year come to Chicago.  From this city, he said, they scatter through the country.  The consul does not think a permanent Greek colony will be established on the west side.




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