THREATENED: Tidal Wave of Historic Catholic Church Closings/Consolidations Coming

Preservation Chicago has been working for years to prevent the loss of significant church buildings such as Shrine of Christ the King, St. James, St. Adalbert, St. Boniface, St. Lawrence, and many others. We have enjoyed some remarkable successes and some tough loses. Preservation initiatives, such as the lawsuit to prevent the demolition of St. James which was litigated in Latin at the Vatican but ultimately failed to save the church, have encouraged the Archdiocese of Chicago to consider reuse ideas before costly, multi-million dollar demolition of these structures.

It now appears that these isolated church closings were the tip of the iceberg and that a tidal wave of church closings is coming. One initial estimate is that approximately 75 Catholic churches will be closed or consolidated over the next 10 years. Many of the churches targeted first for closure are the oldest and largest buildings due to their higher operating costs and not surprisingly, this includes many of Chicago’s most extraordinary churches. Due to the 1987 amendment introduced by then Alderman Burt Natarus, only a handful of Chicago churches are designated Chicago Landmarks. The following churches have been added to our rapidly growing Preservation Chicago Endangered Church Watch List:

  • St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 8237 S. South Shore Drive, South Shore, William J. Brinkmann, 1909
  • All Saints – St. Anthony Catholic Church, 518 West 28th Place, Bridgeport, Henry J. Schlacks, 1913
  • St. Ita Catholic Church, 5500 N. Broadway, Edgewater, Henry J. Schlacks, 1924-1927
  • St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 4200 N. Sheridan Road, Uptown, Henry J. Schlacks, 1917
  • St. Barbara Catholic Church, 2859 S. Throop Street, Bridgeport, Worthmann & Steinbach, 1914
  • St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 600 W. 45th Street, Canaryville, Burnham & Root, 1888
  • St. Jerome Croatian Catholic Church, 2823 S. Princeton Avenue, Bridgeport, Christian O. Hansen, 1885
  • Santa Lucia-Santa Maria Incoronata, 3022 S. Wells Street, Bridgeport, Ray Basso, 1961
  • St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church and School, 218 W. Alexander Street, Bridgeport, William F. Gubbins, 1904
  • St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church, 4827 N. Kenmore Avenue, Uptown, Joseph W. McCarthy, 1917
  • St. Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1039 W. 32nd Street, Bridgeport, Henry Engelbert, 1889
  • Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 653 W. 37th Street, Bridgeport, Patrick C. Keeley, 1885
  • St. Stanislaus Kosta Catholic Church, 1327 N. Noble Street, West Town, Patrick C. Keeley, 1877-1881
  • St. Adalbert Catholic Church, 1650 W. 17th Street, Pilsen, Henry J. Schlacks, 1914
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 8237 S. South Shore Drive, South Shore/South Chicago/The Bush, William J. Brinkmann, 1909, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
St. Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1039 W. 32nd Street, Bridgeport, Henry Engelbert, 1889 Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 4200 N. Sheridan Road, Uptown, Henry J. Schlacks, 1917, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
St. Ita Catholic Church, 5500 N. Broadway, Edgewater, Henry J. Schlacks, 1924-1927, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church (Parish of Daley Family) , 653 W. 37th Street, Bridgeport, Patrick C. Keeley, 1876-1885, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
St. Barbara Catholic Church, 2859 S. Throop Street, Bridgeport, Worthmann & Steinbach, 1914, Photo Credit: St. Barbara Catholic Church
All Saints – St. Anthony Catholic Church, 518 West 28th Place, Bridgeport, Henry J. Schlacks, Photo Credit: All Saints – St. Anthony Catholic Church

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