Churches With Interesting History…

From the Great Chicago Fire to Al Capone both these Gold Coast churches have some great history.

Early Friday morning in Chicago after breakfast Dear and I visited 2 churches that were close to our hotel. The first church we visited was Holy Name Cathedral.

” Holy Name Cathedral on North State Street is both a Roman Catholic parish and the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago. After the fire of 1871 destroyed the former Holy Name Church, Bishop Thomas Foley resolved to build a spectacular replacement. Brooklyn architect Patrick Charles Keely designed the Gothic structure, and the cornerstone was laid on July 19, 1874.”

Once inside the church, the most striking feature is the suspended Resurrection Crucifix sculpted by the artist Ivo Demetz.

“Among the many striking features inside the Cathedral are the five red, broad-brimmed, cardinals’ hats, or galeros, suspended from the ceiling. Traditionally, this symbol of a cardinal is raised to the ceiling of his cathedral upon his death. The hat hangs until it turns into dust, a reminder that all earthly glory is passing.”  You’ll need to look carefully in the upper part of my photo which is almost too dark to see the galeros.

The most famous story about Holy Name Cathedral involves a mobster gunfight that happened on Oct. 11, 1926. Gunmen hired by Al Capone were positioned across from the cathedral and killed Earl “Hymie” Weiss in a hail of gunfire, leaving a bullet wedged into the cornerstone. We saw the bullet hole but I didn’t take a photo of it.

The Fourth Presbyterian Church was the 2nd church we visited. “The name “Fourth” was selected not because it was the fourth Presbyterian church to be founded in Chicago—there had been several founded before then, with North Presbyterian being one of the earliest—but because “Fourth” was the lowest number then not in use. “ The first structure at a different location was re-dedicated on October 8, 1871 and just 2 hours after it’s evening services concluded the Great Chicago Fire swept through downtown and the Northside and destroyed it. They were at another location and then in 1912 they settled at this property on Michigan Ave.

There was no “Michigan Avenue” north of the Chicago River yet in 1912; it was to be several years before a bridge was constructed over the Chicago River to extend north the Michigan Avenue that had grown in prominence south of the river.

“The church proper (the Sanctuary) was designed by architect Ralph Adams Cram, the parish buildings around the courtyard by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, and the stained glass windows by Charles J. Connick. The interior painting and decoration of the Sanctuary was overseen by Frederick Clay Bartlett. The new church was dedicated in 1914.”

“The North Michigan Avenue “Magnificent Mile” neighborhood literally grew up around the church, particularly after the opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge in 1920. Except for the familiar Water Tower complex two blocks to the south, which survived the Chicago Fire of 1871, Fourth Church is now the oldest surviving structure on Michigan Avenue north of the river.”

There was so much to do and see in Chicago. You’ll be seeing a lot more posts as I organize my photos and re-visit everything I was able to fit in on my 4 full days of sight seeing. We arrived home last night and it will take me a while to get a handle on what day of the week it is. We are overcast and cool again here in the Seattle area. My sunburned scalp and nose will appreciate this weather for sure.

Since this post is full of C’s I’m linking with Teacher Jenny at Alphabe-Thursday for the letter C.

About Ellen am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

30 thoughts on “Churches With Interesting History…

  1. Exquisite. They don’t make churches like this any more. Oh the expense! Interesting history the first had and, though I’m not a fan of crucifixes, that one was a work of art.

  2. One of our sons was married in The Fourth Presbyterian Church and
    your so right, it is beautiful….. We lived in the burgs of Chicago for a
    few years and I love that town!
    Nice shots

  3. Every single photo just left me a little breathless. I’m not just saying that either. They are really and truly gorgeous. It’s amazing to think the the things (good and bad) that those walls have stood witness to.

  4. I love traveling through you….you take great pictures. The churches…WOW. That first one is stunning. I always wonder what it was like to build such massive buildings. So fun to be able to travel and you are wonderful to share with us!

  5. These are both pretty churches that you found, Ellen. I think the first is more elegant inside (judgement from the pictures, I’ve never been there) and the Fourth Presbyterian Church is neater on the outside. The inside of the Fourth Church surprised me in that it too was elegant and very well preserved.
    Oh yes, the Crucifix was neat. It is a large piece for that type of carved out wooden sculpture where the carved out inside piece is the center point.

  6. Especially the first church must be a replica from one of the Catholic cathedrals in Europe! ( I am Dutch and I’ve been in several of them) Wow – the skill is stunning! Wished they would put more stained windows in the newer churches! Thanks for sharing -this was a treat!

  7. I really enjoyed this post, Ellen! I didn’t get a chance to visit a Church on my Chicago visit and now I’l add these to my list in case I am fortunate enough to return one day.

    I loved the views you had of lake Michigan and the Portillo’s hot dog …yum!

  8. I have always been enchanted with cathedrals.

    Their grandeur just takes my breath away.

    I think it would be quite neat to do a cathedral tour of the US. What a journey that would be!

    Thanks for linking up.

    I’m glad you let me tag along.


  9. The Roman Catholic church is magnificent. I adore the hanging crucifix, was intrigued by the red hats of the cardinals and awestruck by the ceiling!

    Looking at the Presbyterian church, it seems foolish to say that it is simpler, but it’s stone walls and wooden balconies seemed somehow much more plain, without being less impressive. The stained glass window is gorgeous.

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