DiscoverUnsung HistoryThe History of Polish Chicago
The History of Polish Chicago

The History of Polish Chicago

Update: 2023-02-20


If you’ve ever lived in Chicago, you’ve probably heard at some point that Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw. While that’s an exaggeration it’s certainly the case that the Chicagoland region has a large population of people of Polish descent and that Chicago is important historically to American Polonia. From the earliest Polish immigrants to Chicago in the 1830s through today, Poles have helped shape the culture, politics, religion, and food of Chicago. This week we dive into that history.

Joining me to help us understand more about Polish Chicago is Dr. Dominic A. Pacyga, professor emeritus of history in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago and author of several books on Polish immigrants and Chicago, including American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago in 2019.

Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The mid-roll audio is “Mazurka, Op. 24, No. 4, in B Flat Minor,” by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, performed by Polish pianist and Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski in in the early 1920s and captured on an Aeolian Company "DUO-ART" reproducing piano; the performance is in the public domain and is available via the Internet Archive. The episode image is the Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument, an outdoor sculpture by artist Kazimierz Chodziński, installed in the median of East Solidarity Drive, near Chicago's Shedd Aquarium; the photograph was taken by Matthew Weflen on Sunday, February 19, 2023, and is used with permission.

Additional Sources:

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit









Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

The History of Polish Chicago

The History of Polish Chicago

Kelly Therese Pollock