LOSS: Antioch Missionary Baptist Demolished Following Massive Good Friday Fire

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 1890, Bell and Swift, 6248 S. Stewart Ave. Photo Credit: Adam L. Stanley
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood, gutted by a large fire on Good Friday, still stands on April 19, 2022. Built 1890, Bell and Swift, 6248 S. Stewart Ave. Photo Credit: Colin Boyle / Block Club Chicago
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Built 1890, Bell and Swift, 6248 S. Stewart Ave. Photo Credit: Noah Vaughn
‘We need to find an alternative’: Preservation Chicago wants city to do more to protect historic structures from fires.” Image Credit: CBS Chicago

“The walls are still being brought down at the old Antioch Baptist Church in Englewood after a fire last month, but that does not mean the fight to preserve its legacy is waning.

“When Ward Miller with Preservation Chicago thinks about iconic city and Englewood architecture, he said this is it.

“‘This is really a remarkable first class structure.’

“So when the historic Antioch Baptist Church, which is not designated as a landmark, went up in flames last month, one of its biggest fans was devastated.

“‘It’s another vacant lot in our city. It’s another challenge to overcome,’ Miller lamented.

“Chicago city inspectors and engineers said the building is too unstable to rebuild. Miller was fighting to save a tower, but he said the pastor told him it was too costly. He still comes to the site often to see if other parts can be saved.

“‘It’s just a terrible loss to lose these structures time, and time again, to fire,’ said Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago. ‘And we need to find an alternative.’

“His organization is proposing that Chicago follow a decades-old New York City law, banning propane torch use on wooden roofs. The practice is blamed for starting the fire at Antioch and Bronzeville’s Pilgrim Baptist church back in 2006.

“‘If propane torches were made illegal by city ordinance, that would have never occurred,’ Miller said.

“For now, the immediate focus of taking care of the history still in the city, according to Miller. In his mind, there’s even the possibility of moving the Antioch congregation to the St. Martin de Tours church that’s vacant sitting right off of the Dan Ryan in Englewood.

“‘I have had a conversation with the pastor about if this would be an interesting alternative,’ Miller said.

“Preservation Chicago is also working to designate more buildings as historic landmarks.” (Graves, CBS 2 Chicago, 5/12/22)

Watch the full story at CBS 2 Chicago

‘We need to find an alternative’: Preservation Chicago wants city to do more to protect historic structures from fires, Steven Graves, CBS 2 Chicago, 5/12/22

Sun-Times Editorial: Bad times at Antioch Baptist: A roofer’s torch claims another landmark Chicago church; The city must take a closer look at the use, of these propane torches and come up with an ordinance to make the practice safer; Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 4/18/22

Fire at Antioch Church in Englewood eerily similar to Pilgrim Baptist fire, Erick Johnson, The Chicago Crusader, 4/25/22

Antioch Missionary Baptist Being Demolished Days After Fire, But Church Leaders Vow To Rebuild In Englewood; Officials with the city’s buildings department said the Englewood church is not structurally sound and poses a potential danger to surrounding buildings and public safety, Atavia Reed, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22

Antioch Missionary Baptist Being Demolished Days After Fire, But Church Leaders Vow To Rebuild In Englewood; Officials with the city’s buildings department said the Englewood church is not structurally sound and poses a potential danger to surrounding buildings and public safety, Atavia Reed, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22

‘This is really happening’: Fire-ravaged Englewood church mourned as demolition begins, Rosemary Sobol and Shanzeh Ahmad, Chicago Tribune, 4/20/22

Demolition begins at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood after devastating fire, Shardaa Gray, CBS Chicago, 4/20/22

Roofer’s Propane Torch Blamed For Massive Fire That Badly Damaged Antioch Missionary Baptist Church; The fire caused extensive to damage to the nearly 100-year-old building in Englewood, Atavia Reed, Block Club Chicago, 4/16/22

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