Hundreds Visit The Shrine for “Hard Hat Tour” During Open House Chicago

Hundreds visited the Shrine of Christ the King during Open House Chicago on October 13 and 14 to see the new roof and witness the results of this extraordinary preservation effort. The Shrine and Preservation Chicago this hosted the event on Saturday the 13th and many Preservation Chicago board members and staff, parishioners and members of the non-profit organization Save the Shrine were onsite. The Shrine’s “Hard Hat Tour” was one of the most popular Open House Chicago sites in the neighborhoods!

After three years of being open to the elements, the Shrine of Christ the King (6401 S. Woodlawn Ave.) has a getting a roof! Over the spring and summer, new steel trusses, decking and insulation were installed and the outer layer of shingles will be added this fall.

The Shrine, built as St. Clara and landmarked as St. Gelasius, has been one of Preservation Chicago’s most consistent efforts and biggest wins over the past two decades. When the neo-Renaissance masterpiece of Chicago architect Henry Schlacks was first threatened with demolition in 2002, Preservation Chicago, along with our partner organization Landmarks Illinois, led the successful effort to designate the building as a Chicago Landmark in 2003. When the Shrine was once again threatened with demolition following the massive fire that destroyed its roof in 2015, Preservation Chicago again rallied to #SaveTheShrine, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in pledges to secure the building and facilitating an unprecedented transfer of ownership from the Archdiocese of Chicago to an independent Catholic religious order, the Institute of Christ the King.

Preservation Chicago has continued to be a crucial partner in the Shrine’s restoration, including recently by supporting the Shrine’s successful candidacy for the National Fund for Sacred Places. In 2017, the Shrine was the only Chicago house of worship to be accepted into this competitive program, which includes a quarter million dollar grant to support the restoration. Ward Miller has been frequently quoted in the press on the Shrine project, most recently by the Sun-Times in March, when he called the Shrine “a fabulous structure that is so much a part of Woodlawn.”(Chicago Sun-Times, 3/23/18)

You can also #SeeTheShrine on the big screen this November, when Dr. Enid Wells’ film students at the Shrine’s neighbor Kennedy-King College, will once again include a short film on the restoration’s progress at their Arts Showcase on Tuesday, November 27th, from 2-3:30 at 6301 S. Halsted Street. The Shrine and Kennedy-King College were introduced thanks to Landmarks Illinois’ “People Saving Places” video series and the College has generously continued to give visibility to the project through film-making. This is a great chance to support young film-makers telling inspiring stories of preservation in their neighborhoods!

Interested in more Shrine news? Join Save the Shrine’s mailing list, visit and, and follow on Facebook @SaveTheShrine and twitter @ShrineLandmark 

Additional Reading

Work begins to rebuild roof of historic Woodlawn church gutted by 2015 fire, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/23/18

Shrine of Christ the King Press Conference, Chicago Sun-Times Video, 3/23/18

Shrine of Christ, Open House Chicago 2017 VIDEO (Outstanding Video)

Shrine of Christ the King, Open House Chicago, 2018

The Shrine Survives; How parishioners, community members, and preservationists saved a landmark Woodlawn church from demolition, Sonia Schlesinger, South Side Weekly, 6/1/16


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