WIN: Pilgrim Baptist Church Receives $2.1 Million State Grant for National Gospel Museum

Pilgrim Baptist Church originally constructed as K.A.M. Synagogue, 1890, Adler and Sullivan, 3301 S. Indiana Avenue. Photo Credit: Richard Nickel / Ryerson & Burnham Archives
Limestone façade supported by scaffolding following the devastating fire in 2006. Pilgrim Baptist Church originally constructed as K.A.M. Synagogue, 1890, Adler and Sullivan, 3301 S. Indiana Avenue. Photo Credit: Ward Miller / Preservation Chicago
Collapsed rear brick wall at Pilgrim Baptist Church originally constructed as K.A.M. Synagogue, 1890, Adler and Sullivan, 3301 S. Indiana Avenue. Photo Credit: Debbie Mercer

“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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here