The rebuilding efforts for fire-damaged Shrine of Christ the King/St. Gelasius/St. Clara Church in Woodlawn reached an important milestone in March 2018 when the first new roof trusses were installed.
The highly ornate 1923 church building at 6401 S. Woodlawn Avenue was devastated by a fire in October 2015. The historic church’s interior and roof were completely lost, but the massive limestone walls survived. The estimated cost of rebuilding was $9 million dollars so the Archdiocese was left with little choice but to demolish the remains of the Designated Chicago Landmark Building.
Then something of a miracle occurred. Due to an extraordinary preservation advocacy effort, within a few months of the fire, nearly $650,000 in pledges had been received to rebuild. Ultimately, the congregation, Woodlawn residents, the preservation community, and Preservation Chicago were successful in their efforts to preserve the building resulting in a transfer of ownership from the Archdiocese to a separate Catholic order, known as The Institute of Christ the King, at no cost, but with a commitment to rebuild the building and a Catholic presence in Woodlawn. Initial funding was used to stabilize the building with the optimism that future monies would be raised for the installation of a new roof. Approximately $3 million dollars have been raised to-date. The next phase of rebuilding will be the interior, estimated to cost between $3 and $5 million dollars.
For more information or to make a contribution to the rebuilding effort, please visit savetheshrine.org and www.shrinelandmark.org
Work begins to rebuild roof of historic Woodlawn church gutted by 2015 fire, Chicago Sun-Times, Erin Brown, 3/23/18