Since we moved to the West Loop, the long-boarded-up Phil’s Tavern has been a reminder of this neighborhood’s past as Chicago’s Skid Row. While other buildings have been re-habbed or torn down to be replaced by brand-new residences and retail, the one-story building with its shuttered bar and the still-open Herzog Store Fixture stood at the corner of Madison and Carpenter Streets.
I found this blog entry that talks about the neighborhood, but even more interesting is the comment from “Anonymous” claiming to know the history of Phil’s Tavern:
Hi, Phil’s Tavern belong to my 2nd great-grandfather. His full name was Filippo Pescio and came to America in 1902. He Americanized and became Philip Pesch. He opened and ran his Tavern in the early 1940s with help from a few of his 7 sons. As the depression hit this area, it did become skid row in the early 1950s. Before it was a family ran business by immigrants looking for a new life. Please be more considerate as you tell this story around Phil’s Tavern, he put a lot of heart and soul into building a new start when he arrived and struggled. He also fought both world wars for the USA.
A fascinating tale.
On June 17, 2021, the building was torn down and in its place will be a multistory condominium building, scheduled to open in 2022. Here are some photos of the site as of today; as you can see, a company has already started reclaiming the much-in-demand Chicago Common Brick.
The demolition also revealed a ghost sign for “Raxworthy” on the building next door– I am still researching what that could have been.