In May of 2012 I traveled with Dear to an Oncology Conference held in Chicago and on one of the mornings we had time to enjoy breakfast together and a visit to two interesting churches filled with history.
” 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.”
The hotel we stayed in was just across the street from The Fourth Presbyterian Church. Do you make it a point to open the door of a beautiful church when you are traveling. I’m always happy to find them open to enjoy.
Back here in November of 2014 we are still cold and dry in the greater Seattle area. Dear has been finishing up some painting of new doors and baseboard and touching up the walls around the bathroom renovation. We moved some wall art which meant some more touch up needed to be done. We’re getting ready for an early Thanksgiving gathering this coming weekend. How was your weekend?