Slice of Life: Can The St. Adalbert Towers Be Saved?

St Adalbert

Shrouded in scaffolding, the two towers of St Adalbert Catholic Church rise in the distance.

Demolition of historic structures will always raise passion levels to peak anxiety. When the subject of said demise involves an old Chicago church, that angst skyrockets through the roof. Just ask fans of the former Saint Dominic’s Church in Cabrini-Green, or West Town’s Saint Boniface, just to name two. Saint Boniface still has a chance to be saved, but the venerable Saint Dominic lives on only in memory.

Now there’s another Chicago church in danger of losing its battle against time.

At 1650 West 17th Street on the city’s south side, St. Adalbert Catholic Church has had its two magnificent towers, rising high above the Pilsen neighborhood, veiled in scaffolding for more than a year, in the hopes of restoring them to their former glory. Built in 1914, the church’s matching towers extend 185 feet into the sky. But that century of Chicago weather conditions has taken a toll. And then some.

The St. Adalbert Tower Restoration project has its own website, where you can see photos detailing the damage, both to the interior and exterior, that the church is committed to reversing. There’s also a link where you can donate to the efforts, if you’re so inclined. Their goal is three million dollars. But even with attempts to raise funds, the Archdiocese of Chicago still plans to close the church.

St. Adalbert Church has been named on Preservation Chicago’s “Chicago 7” list twice in the past three years, and announced on Landmarks Illinois’ 2016 Most Endangered Historic Places list on Wednesday, the 13th.

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Location: 1650 West 17th Street, Pilsen

Daniel Schell

Author: Daniel Schell

Daniel Schell is a West Loop social media addict who lives for Cubs baseball, good pizza, and big cities. If you bump into him on the street, it's likely because he's taking photos instead of watching where he's going, and he apologizes.

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