“Officials finally are taking the first steps to landmark Pilsen’s iconic St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church after a years-long fight by former parishioners to preserve it.
“The city’s Department of Planning and Development is beginning a preliminary landmark recommendation report for the former church at 1650 W. 17th St., Commissioner Maurice Cox said at a community meeting Tuesday night. Cox’s announcement is the first public commitment from city leaders to preserve the church, which was deconsecrated last year and twice has been put up for sale by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“‘We’ve heard a lot about [how] St. Adalbert’s should be preserved, and we agree,’ Cox said. ‘The city is ready to commit to preparing the designation report and to coordinate with the Archdiocese for designation and redevelopment of St. Adalbert.’
“This is an iconic landmark in Pilsen; that is without dispute,” Cox said. “The city can begin the process of designation without the consent of the Archdiocese.”
“While the Archdiocese owns the property, the city would begin the designation report and would coordinate with the Archdiocese for any redevelopment scenarios, Cox said.
“Peter Strazzabosco, spokesman for the city’s planning department, said the preparation of a preliminary report was the ‘first step in the city’s landmark designation process.’
“The report will ‘propose protected features for the church structure, which typically include all exterior elevations, rooflines and other notable elements,’ he said in an email. The planning department is also assessing whether the St. Adalbert church building and the convent could be included under the landmarks ordinance, Strazzabosco said.
“The preliminary recommendation could be considered by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in the spring.
“Under the city’s landmarks ordinance, owner consent is required for designation of active religious houses of worship. However, “owner consent is advisory for buildings no longer used for religious services,” Strazzabosco said. Archdiocese spokesman Alejandro Castillo declined to comment. (Peña, Block Club Chicago. 10/29/20)
Preservation Chicago has been advocating for Chicago Landmark Designation of the St. Adalbert Church in Pilsen for years. It was a Chicago 7 Most Endangered in 2014 and 2016. It was also included in the Chicago 7 Most Endangered Roman Catholic Church categories in 2019 and 2021. We have worked closely with local leaders in the Latinx and Polish communities to resist the closure of the church and possible demolition of the building. Since the Archdiocese of Chicago deconsecrated the church and ceased holding religious services within the building, we have strongly encouraged stakeholders and the City of Chicago to move forward with Chicago Landmark Designation. We are thrilled that this important building will finally get the protection it deserves.
City Moves To Landmark Pilsen’s Beloved St. Adalbert Church After Years Of Activism; The preliminary recommendation could be considered by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in the spring, a spokesman said, Mauricio Peña, Block Club Chicago. 10/29/20