Another Long-Abanoned Church


Former church at 1046 West Polk Street

You don’t have to walk very far in most Chicago neighborhoods before you come across a neighborhood church.  And you don’t have to walk much farther to come across an abandoned, or former church.

From Saint Dominick’s near Cabrini Green to the dozens of storefront and other Baptist churches on the city’s South Side, there are hundreds of churches in Chicago that have been either abandoned or repurposed over the years.

This one is at 1046 West Polk Street.  It’s a cute little church on a quiet corner in Little Italy.  

We haven’t been able to dig up any history on it, so we started asking the neighbors.  One person in his mid-50’s who’s lived in the neighborhood since he was a kid says his mother told him that it was abandoned way back in the 1930’s, and he doesn’t remember it ever having a congregation.

Remarkably, much of the stained glass remains in tact.  Neighbors also say, and internet real estate web sites confirm, that there are plans to convert the church into two residential spaces.  

I’d think a decorator would be obligated to find a disused altar for the new residents’ dining table.



Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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  1. I was able to find that the building was the First Italian Methodist Episcopal Church from 1901-1920. Back then Carpenter St was named Sholto, so you might have some luck with that if anyone who comes across this is interested in further research of the history of this property.

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    • Editor

      That’s fantastic! Thanks for the information. Using that I was able to do a quick search and come up with more information:

      • The church’s records have been copied an archived by the Mormons for genealogical research.
      • Membership in 1906 was 100
      • The church was originally at 98 Blue Island Avenue. At the time, Blue Island Avenue ended at Harrison Street.
      • The land for the building in this blog post was purchased November 1, 1907 at a cost of $6,500.
      • The property formerly had a brick barn on it.
      • The architect of the new church was Giovanni Boschetti
      • The pastor was Reverend Piero M. Petacci.
      • At one point the church had three schools, with over 7,000 students.
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