“A closed Catholic church that’s been at the center of a years-long preservation battle is one step closer to becoming a Chicago landmark.
“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted unanimously Thursday to advance landmark status for the St. Adalbert Catholic Church complex, 1650 W. 17th St., one month after the body gave it a preliminary landmark recommendation.
“The commission approved a report from the Department of Planning and Development that landmark status would be consistent with city planning goals in the surrounding neighborhood.
“The property — consisting of the sanctuary, rectory, convent, school and a parking lot — spans 2.1 acres in the heart of Pilsen.
“The designation must still work through a lengthy process and ultimately be approved by the City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards followed by the full City Council.
“Pilsen Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said he expects the landmark designation to be approved by the full City Council. He called Thursday’s vote a ‘special day’ for St. Adalbert parishioners and the surrounding community.
“‘This is an iconic landmark for the Polish community, just as it is so important for the Mexican community, just as it is important for working people that today have said it loud and clear, they want to be part of a conversation of the planning of the next steps, and that’s what we’re going to do,’ Sigcho-Lopez said.
“‘It is so widely important to our neighborhood that this property, this edifice, stays in perpetuity so that other people can also avail themselves of the interior and the exterior for inspiration, spiritual or religious, for whatever they can take away from this church and the property,’ added Blanca Torres, a parishioner and part of the St. Adalbert Preservation Society. (Myers, Block Club Chicago, 9/7/23)
Preservation Chicago has been advocating for Chicago Landmark Designation of the St. Adalbert Church in Pilsen for over a decade and is delighted by recent process. We have working closely with neighborhood partners every step of the way to protect St. Adalbert Church. St. Adalbert Church 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 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.
- Pilsen’s St. Adalbert Church Gets Latest Landmark Approval; The Pilsen church has been the site of ongoing protests since it was closed in 2019, as former parishioners fear it will be redeveloped. The City Council must still approve the landmark designation, Quinn Myers, Block Club Chicago, 9/7/23
- Protect St. Adalbert’s and other historic Catholic churches; The recent preliminary landmark designation must lead to a larger discussion with the Archdiocese, the city and others about the need to preserve and reuse these glorious buildings, among Chicago’s best architecture, Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 8/12/23
- No Sanctuary: Are Historic Churches the Lost Souls of a City? Mary Wisniewski, NewCity Design, 8/9/23
- Pilsen’s St. Adalbert Church Gets Key First Approval To Become Chicago Landmark; Pilsen neighbors and the area’s alderman have fought for years to preserve the church building, which was closed and deconsecrated in 2019, Madison Savedra, Block Club Chicago, 8/7/23
- ‘I want to pray’: 73-year-old woman arrested for protesting shuttered St. Adalbert Church has case dismissed, Nell Salzman, front page of the Chicago Tribune, 8/24/23.
- Panel grants landmark status to former church in Pilsen, Craig Dellimore, WBBM News Radio 780 AM, 9/7/23
- Pilsen’s St. Adalbert Church Under Contract With Buyer That Wants An Event Venue; Built in 1912, the shuttered church could be converted into an event space if the Archdiocese of Chicago’s latest attempt to sell the property goes through, Jacqueline Cardenas and Madison Savedra, Block Club Chicago, 8/24/23
- St. Adalbert Church in Pilsen Clears First Hurdle on Path to Landmark Status, Blair Paddock, WTTW Chicago, 8/11/23
- Preliminary landmark approved for St. Adalbert Parish Complex; The shuttered church is under the threat of demolition, Lukas Kugler, Urbanize Chicago, 8/8/23
- Chicago Landmarks Commission grants preliminary landmark designation to St. Adalbert’s Church, Anthony Ponce, Fox 32 Chicago, 8/7/23
- Century-old church in Pilsen gets landmark recommendation from city; The first step in the landmarking process protects the building at the heart of a contentious neighborhood fight from being dismantled or sold, Michael Loria, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/7/23
- Roman Catholic Churches of Chicago: St. Adalbert. A 2019 Chicago 7 Most Endangered