Historic Church to be Bulldozed to Help the Homeless

What is believed to be the oldest wooden church still standing in Edgewater isn’t expected to be standing much longer. Summerdale Community Church is giving its sanctuary at 1700 West Farragut Avenue to the Night Ministry.

Summerdale Community Church at 1700 West Farragut Avenue (via Apple Maps)

Summerdale Community Church at 1700 West Farragut Avenue (via Apple Maps)

If you’re not familiar with the Night Ministry, it’s one of the less visible backbones of the city, helping hold society together at its tattered edges. More specifically, you know how high-minded high school kids always talk big in their social circles about going down to Lower Lower Wacker Drive and bringing food to the homeless people who live in piles of tarps and sleeping bags and talking to them nicely just to bring the less fortunate a feeling of human dignity for a change? Well, long after the high school kids have forgotten their promises and are sleeping snug in their suburban McMansions at 2am, the Night Ministry actually rolls up in a big bus with food, health care, counseling, and more of what the city’s least fortunate actually need: action. Not words.

There are more homeless people in Chicago than there are people in any Chicagoland suburb except Aurora, Naperville, and Joliet. If they all got together in one tent city, it would have about the same population as Springfield. Yet people still post comments on Crain’s Chicago Business claiming there is no housing crisis in Illinois.

Which bring us back to the Night Ministry, and the property it will soon own. According to Edgeville Buzz, the do-gooders plan to immediately flip Summerdale Community Church’s building to a developer who will give the Night Ministry a big fat check, and then replace the sanctuary with single family homes.

So, why are Summerdale’s parishioners giving up their building? According to E.B., even though the organization has a 126-year history, it’s down to just 10 members, and it’s simply time to move on.


Location: 1700 West Farragut Avenue, Edgewater

Author: Editor

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

Share This Post On