“Tumbled-down brick walls, nubs of charred timber — even the cast-iron frame and melted strings from what was once a baby grand piano.
“Strolling through the remains of the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church — on the first public tour since the devastating 2006 fire — feels almost like traipsing through Roman ruins.
“‘This is our coliseum. The Romans have theirs; we have ours,’ said Mark Kuberski, vice president of Central Building & Preservation, as he led the tour Thursday.
“Except that the Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan-designed building, erected in 1890, isn’t expected to remain a ruin. It doesn’t look like much now — only two exterior walls remain, and only because they’re held in place with steel braces.
“But on Thursday, the project to transform the celebrated church into a museum of the history of gospel music got a boost, with $2.1 million in state funds. Thomas A. Dorsey, considered the ‘father of gospel music,’ was a choir director at the church, which many consider to be the music style’s birthplace.
“State Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, who attended the church as a child, helped secure the funding.
“The first phase of the project — repairing the original limestone-and-brick exterior walls, replacing the two that fell down and putting on a roof — is expected to cost about $10 million, project organizers said. The hope is to have that completed within the next two years, said Antoinette Wright, president and executive director of the museum project.” (Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/16/22)
Read the full story at Chicago Sun-Times
Dreaming of a future for the South Side’s historic Pilgrim Baptist Church; Planned gospel museum gets a boost with $2.1 million in state funds, Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/16/22
Leaders at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Bronzeville get $2.1 million toward rebuilding the worship space and creating a gospel museum, Tatyana Turner, Chicago Tribune, 6/23/22
The National Museum Of Gospel Music Planned For 3301 S Indiana Avenue In Bronzeville, Bee Ricketts, Chicago YIMBY, 6/22/22
Historic Walls, But Far More Needed For Rebuild; The landmark Adler & Sullivan-designed building at 3301 S. Indiana Ave. burned in 2006 and partially collapsed in August’s vicious storm, Bob Chiarito, Block Club Chicago, 1/8/21
Plan for National Museum of Gospel Music in Bronzeville Moves Forward, Eddie Arruza, WTTW Chicago, Chicago Tonight, 9/24/18
Plan to revive Pilgrim Baptist Church shows promise but faces hurdles, Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, 12/9/17