Before 1960, the concentration of Greek immigrants living and working along Halsted north of Taylor led Chicagoans to refer to it as the Greek Delta. The neighborhood stretching west along Taylor was Little Italy. In addition to these two large groups, the area was also home to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans. Private homes, stores, cafés, and factories were all mixed in together here. Citizens saw an opportunity to improve the neighborhood and formed the Near West Side Planning Board, which succeeded in obtaining federal urban renewal money. But larger forces were at play, and to the dismay of Planning Board members, the money was ultimately used to clear the area for the new university.

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