Awesome and Sad Pictures From the Last Minutes of St. Dominic’s in Cabrini Green

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition. Saint Dominic's was last renovated in the early 1980s, the Neo-Romanesque interior details were given a fresh coat of paint, but the church closed in 1990.

Saint Dominic’s was last renovated in the early 1980s, the Neo-Romanesque interior details were given a fresh coat of paint, but the church closed in 1990.

The city of Chicago is putting the “wreck” in “rectory.”  A demolition permit has just been issued for what the city quaintly calls a “2 story masonry residence.”  We know it as the Saint Dominic’s Church rectory at 357 West Locust Street.

Saint Dominic Roman Catholic Church

Saint Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church before demolition. Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers and the falsely accused.

The rectory and the church, itself, are being torn town to make way for a low-rise condominium building, part of a flurry of projects redeveloping Cabrini Green.  This project, designed by Sullivan Goulette & Wilson Architects, will have 45 residences and rise to a height of 71 feet — almost the same as Saint Dominic’s doomed bell towers.

The neighboring three-flat at 355 West Locust Street also just received a demolition permit as part of the condo project.

The church received its death warrant (demolition permit) back on May 22nd.  But before crews could do too much damage, The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Kevin Mungons was allowed inside to document its last few moments. You can see those amazing and sad pictures below.

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition. Most of the ecclesiastical furnishings had been removed from the building in 1990, but this Statesman Color Bingo machine was left behind.

Most of the ecclesiastical furnishings had been removed from the building in 1990, but this Statesman Color Bingo machine was left behind.

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition. Here’s what’s left of the Hinners pipe organ, built as a single manual with seven ranks of pipes (read details at www.organsocity.org). The organ was silenced by vandalism n the mid-1970s; the church replaced it with a cheap electronic model.

Here’s what’s left of the Hinners pipe organ, built as a single manual with seven ranks of pipes (read details at www.organsocity.org). The organ was silenced by vandalism in the mid-1970s; the church replaced it with a cheap electronic model.

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition. As seen from the balcony looking east toward the Apse, the church’s barrel vault ceiling was painted a simple white, lacking typical scene painting or decoration.

As seen from the balcony looking east toward the Apse, the church’s barrel vault ceiling was painted a simple white, lacking typical scene painting or decoration.

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition. The exterior doors at the west end of the Nave exit to a neighborhood that needs a new name. The current  “Cabrini-Green” label seems destined to change, but no one is suggesting a return to the original name, “Little Hell.”

The exterior doors at the west end of the Nave exit to a neighborhood that needs a new name. The current “Cabrini-Green” label seems destined to change, but no one is suggesting a return to the original name, “Little Hell.”

The stained glass windows were removed when the church was vacated. A site worker familiar with the building’s history described the original windows as unsubstantial, typical for a working-class church.

The stained glass windows were removed when the church was vacated. A site worker familiar with the building’s history described the original windows as unsubstantial, typical for a working-class church.

Saint Dominic's Church pre-demolition

“[Deo optimo maximo] in honorem dei” — Dedicated in honor of the greatest and best God.

Location: 873 North Sedgwick Street, Cabrini Green

Editor

Author: Editor

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

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