THREATENED: Neighbors Organize to Save Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church After May 19th Closure (Chicago 7 2021)

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1916, Worthmann & Steinbach, 1600 W. Leland Ave. Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Photo of Our Lady Lourdes church building move across Ashland Avenue in 1929. Photo credit: Chicago Catholic
Petition to Save and Landmark Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1916, Worthmann & Steinbach, 1600 W. Leland Ave. Photo Credit: Katrina Garcia

“Neighbors are working to protect Uptown’s historical Our Lady of Lourdes church and its unique grotto, which are slated to close for good in May.

“Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 4640 N. Ashland Ave., will close after hosting its last Mass May 19. Portions of the parish campus are already slated for redevelopment, but plans for the 108-year-old church building have not been finalized, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“Now, parishioners and Uptown neighbors are rushing to preserve the church and save it from possible demolition. More than 180 people have signed a petition requesting the church and its rectory receive landmark status. The church is rated “orange” in the city’s historical survey.

“The group of parishioners who launched the petition hope to eventually buy the church so it can remain open to the public, said Katarina Garcia, who is leading the effort. Garcia and other parishioners have formed the nonprofit Our Lady of Lourdes Church Preservation Society with plans to raise money to buy and preserve the church.

“‘It’s one of the most diverse churches in the city, and it’s important to the Spanish community,’ said Garcia, whose family has attended the church for generations.

“Our Lady of Lourdes held its first Mass in October 1892 on the southwest corner of Ashland and Leland avenues. A larger church was built in 1916 on the east side of Ashland. (Kayleigh Padar, Block Club Chicago, 2/21/24)

“Our Lady of Lourdes may have the most moving narrative of any Chicago church—quite literally. When the city of Chicago widened Ashland Avenue in 1929, a team of 50 men and horses lifted the 10,000-ton church from its foundation, moved it across the street, rotated it 90 degrees, and finally cut it in half and added a 30-foot expansion in the middle. This enormous undertaking drew national attention during the Great Depression. The parish was established in 1892 and the building was constructed (originally on the east side of Ashland Avenue) in 1916. This ornate Spanish Renaissance church was designed by prolific church architects Worthmann and Steinbach. The 1929 move and expansion was led by Joseph W. McCarthy, another notable ecclesiastical architect.” (Our Lady of Lourdes, Open House Chicago)

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago



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