The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved preliminary landmark designation to the Little Village Arch in Little Village. Located at 3100 W 26th Street, the two-story structure’s ‘Bienvenidos a Little Village’ sign welcomes visitors to the second-highest revenue generator in the city.
Designed by Mexico native Adrian Lozano, the arch becomes the first Mexican descent architect-designed structure to receive landmark designation. Lozano was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and as a child moved to Chicago where he eventually passed away in 2004. Although his career isn’t well documented, it is known to include the highly renowned National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen.
First conceptualized in 1987 by community leaders, the final arch was derived from concrete arches which mark the entrance of many once-walled towns and villages in Mexico. Evolving from two sculptural iron structures, the current clay-tile-roofed arch is held between two stucco towers capped with two domes at what is considered to be the beginning of Little Village’s commercial strip. The large clock at the center of the span was built by Mexico’s oldest clockmaker Centenario, and donated in 1991 by Mexican president Carlos Salinas during his visit then.
Construction of the arch began in late 1990 and took six months to complete with no interruption to traffic due to the use of scaffoldings. Built by dr/Balti Contracting Company, builders Ronald J. Baltierra and David Ramirez were Mexican-American Vietnam War veterans. By the end of construction it was estimated that it cost $275,000 with the majority paid for by the city.