The two-story stucco arch designed by architect Adrian Lozano that welcomes visitors and residents to Chicago’s Little Village, or La Villita, neighborhood is set to become an official city landmark.
A final vote by the Chicago City Council is set for Wednesday after the City Council’s Zoning Committee unanimously recommended the official designation on Tuesday. It would be the first official landmark designation for a structure designed by an architect of Mexican descent. It was built by Balti Contracting Co.
The arch, designed by Lozano, who died in 2004, at 3100 W. 26th St., is the gateway to Little Village, known as Mexican capital of the Midwest, and the busiest shopping district outside of the Loop and Michigan Avenue.
The arch, which features a tiled archway with two dome towers and a metal banner reading, “Bienvenidos A Little Village,” or “Welcome to Little Village” was designed to resemble the structure at the entrance of many villages in Mexico.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) said the designation of the arch in his ward as a landmark would allow efforts to raise funds to refurbish the structure to move forward.
U.S. Rep Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D- Chicago, represented Little Village on the Chicago City Council when the arch was built at a time when anti-Mexican rhetoric was common in Chicago.
Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd Ward) — who shares Little Village with Cardenas — said the designation was “very important” for Chicago’s Mexican American community, and called the arch an “architectural treasure.”
Little Village was hit especially hard during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and is coping with high rates of gun and gang violence, Rodriguez said.
“This will cast a positive light on our neighborhood,” Rodriguez said.