Chicago’s 2nd Presbyterian Gets Fed Help to Save Mural
Oct13

Chicago’s 2nd Presbyterian Gets Fed Help to Save Mural

If you’ve ever toddled down Michigan Avenue to Second Presbyterian Church, whether to bend a knee or just to attend a community function, you probably noticed one of its greatest hits: The Tree of Life. Tree of Life mural. (Courtesy of Second Presbyterian Church) In a church stuffed with glorious art, the Tree of Life mural still stands out.  The brushwork and leaf of Frederic Clay Bartlett, it’s 30 feet tall and 40 feet...

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Bridgeport Church Seeks Preservation, While Lincoln Park Holy Site Heads to Demolition
Jun01

Bridgeport Church Seeks Preservation, While Lincoln Park Holy Site Heads to Demolition

The news about the dwindling number of Chicago holy places is mixed this week.  On Thursday (June 3, 2021), the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will consider two proposals related to the city’s religious history. Monastery of the Holy Cross (via Apple Maps) In Bridgeport, the Monastery of the Holy Cross is up for landmark status.  It’s the former Immaculate Conception Church on the corner of 31st Street and Aberdeen that...

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South Loop Church’s Massive Tiffany Window Goes Out For Repairs
Apr04

South Loop Church’s Massive Tiffany Window Goes Out For Repairs

At a time when too many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, or worse, we bring you a good news story out of the South Loop. The enormous Tiffany window at Second Presbyterian Church has been removed for conservation. Stained glass window being removed from Second Presbyterian Church in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Friends of Historic Second Church.) Thousands of people have admired the 16-foot-tall window during services,...

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Trib Tower Rock Tally Down to 149, As One Piece Moves to the Suburbs
Feb21

Trib Tower Rock Tally Down to 149, As One Piece Moves to the Suburbs

Eight years ago, we received an e-mail from a teacher asking for a list of all of the stones embedded in the facade of the Tribune Tower.  Neither she, nor we, were able to find a full list on the internet, so we spent half a day wandering around what was then the home of the Chicago Tribune, jotting down the rocks. The resulting article, listing all 149 rocks, is now our fifth-most-read article, with over 13 million views. Tribune...

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Lincoln Park Church Wants to Add Mid-Rise Residential Building
Oct26

Lincoln Park Church Wants to Add Mid-Rise Residential Building

In Chicago, church-to-residence conversions are as common as Mexican restaurants on Check, Please!.  It’s getting so that you can’t swing a censer without knocking out a stained glass living room feature window. The latest conjunction of church and sleep is proposed at the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Chicago’s Park West neighborhood.    October 2020 drawing of the Second Church of Christ, Scientist residential building...

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Demolition Approaches For Code Orange South Side Church
Aug23

Demolition Approaches For Code Orange South Side Church

A number of holy places in Chicago have met their demise over the last 20 years. Some have been repurposed. Some have been demolished. The former Saint Stephenson Missionary Baptist Church looks like it’s next in line to meet the hot kiss of the wrecking ball. Saint Stephenson Missionary Baptist Church in August 2020 (Courtesy of Little Italy Spy Blake) Little Italy Spy Blake sent in the photograph above, showing the current...

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Century-Old Bronzeville Church Likely to be Landmarked
Jan13

Century-Old Bronzeville Church Likely to be Landmarked

In an era when so many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, repurposed, or even demolished, it’s good to see a building that has been a cornerstone of its community on the road to preservation.  The Chicago Landmarks Commission has approved landmark designation for the building that is now Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church.   Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist church (via Apple Maps) The building opened in March...

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Wayback Wednesday: Lord, Snow Down On Me
Jan08

Wayback Wednesday: Lord, Snow Down On Me

It was ten years ago today, January 8, 2010 that we took this photograph of what was then known as the Episcopal Church Center at 65 East Huron Street, just off Michigan Avenue. That’s where a life-sized bronze statue, appearing half man and half angel arched its back, stretched its arms, and welcomed the coming snowstorm. Saint James Commons on January 8, 2010 A year earlier this space was renamed Saint James Commons to go...

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Abandoned Two-Story School To Become Eight-Story Hotel
Nov18

Abandoned Two-Story School To Become Eight-Story Hotel

Back when Chicago’s Immaculate Conception parish and Saint Joseph parish were individual communities, there was a school on the corner of Orleans and Hill Streets, next to Cabrini Green.  Saint Joseph School at 1035 North Orleans Street closed almost a decade ago, but a real estate developer is trying to re-open it as a hotel. 1035 North Orleans Street (via Apple Maps) The conversion involves adding six stories on top of the...

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Neighborhood Church To Become Offices and Homes
Nov18

Neighborhood Church To Become Offices and Homes

We’ve seen plenty of Chicago houses of worship transformed into housing in the last 20 years.  What’s proposed for 4601 South Ellis in Kenwood has a twist — offices. 4601 South Ellis (via Apple Maps) Saint James United Methodist Church moved out of its marvelous house of worship in 2010, and now an application has been filed with the city to give it a new life.  Fortunately, like most Chicago buildings that go...

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