Emmanuel Presbyterian Church (Demolished)

    Newer Older

    Now demolished: Emmanuel Presbyterian Church
    Architect: Edward D. Dart, 1965

    UPDATE: This building has now been demolished.

    From Blair Kamin's "Modernist buildings in danger of being lost" from the July 8, 2007 Chicago Tribune.

    "... little-noticed modernist gems, such as Edward Dart's Emmanuel Presbyterian Church at 1850 S. Racine Ave. in Pilsen, could be smashed to smithereens with no public debate.

    The church would be a real loss. Despite its modest size and lack of traditional ornament, this 42-year-old building, shaped by a distinguished architect whose firm designed Water Tower Place, has a powerful urban presence. I couldn't get inside because the gate in the rusting metal fence in front of the church is locked. But the American Institute of Architects' Guide to Chicago fills in the blanks: "The thin, angular, brick wall planes [on the exterior] appear idiosyncratic until you step inside to see how their careful placement catches the light. Inspired rather than hamstrung by the small budget, [Dart] made morning light the most powerful architectural element, casting it across the angled chancel wall to create a sense of shelter and spirituality."

    Today, the church sits empty, a haunting presence in its otherwise lively neighborhood. According to Landmarks Illinois, a preservation advocacy group based in Chicago, Patrick Heneghan of the Heneghan Wrecking Co. of Chicago bought the building six to 12 months ago. Should Heneghan bring in the bulldozers -- he declined to return a call from the Tribune -- there is little or nothing preservationists can do to stop him.

    A dozen years ago, the City of Chicago completed a sprawling survey of potential landmark buildings across the city and came up with an official database of 17,371 significant structures, from workers' cottages in Bucktown to Art Deco office towers on North Michigan Avenue. But, with a handful of exceptions, the survey stops in 1939. So postwar buildings such as Dart's aren't covered by Chicago's demolition delay ordinance, which requires city officials to put a hold of up to 90 days on the issuance of a demolition permit for buildings rated in the top two tiers (red and orange) of the color-coded survey.

    In other words, these buildings get no hearing on whether they deserve a stay of execution."

    iamandrewgill, Seth Tisue, and 2 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. nvaughn 86 months ago | reply

      Threatened?

    2. KevinEdge 86 months ago | reply

      More demolition huh? What is the planned replacement? A larger church, or just some lousy condos?

    3. metroblossom 86 months ago | reply

      I'm not certain, although it's not going to be a church. I'll try to find out.

    4. ChicagoEye 86 months ago | reply

      I didnt know this was threatened! wow.

    5. metroblossom 86 months ago | reply

      Yes, although I still don't know the full details yet. I'll post 'em as soon as I have 'em.

    6. metroblossom 83 months ago | reply

      Ok, Kamin just posted more details about the building and demolition in a Trib article. It's "premium" content, so I don't think I can link to it. As such, I've excerpted the relevant chunk above.

    7. BenSeese 82 months ago | reply

      Well, this is threatened no longer. It came down this morning. Sad.

    8. metroblossom 82 months ago | reply

      Oh, that's a shame. What a loss!

      I'll go out and take a picture for reference.

    9. BenSeese 82 months ago | reply

      I just walked over there & got some stuff of my own, including some illicit behind-the-fence shots:

      Look forward to seeing your take on the demolition. And just to clarify, you'll see in my pics that El Hogar del Niño is still standing (as of today).

    10. metroblossom 82 months ago | reply

      Thank you for sharing those, BenSeese. I hope to take some tomorrow.

    11. metroblossom 82 months ago | reply

      Ok, I was able to take some shots today. They start here.

    12. chicagogeek 81 months ago | reply

      How sad. I hope this church will not be replaced with more condos. I swear this city is being destroyed by all these look-a-like condos.

    13. Lynne's Lens 66 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Modern Church Architecture, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    14. noahs mom1 47 months ago | reply

      I GREW UP IN THAT CHURCH AND WE WERE A FAMILY. WE LOVED EACH OTHER WARTS AND ALL. WHAT WE NEED IS MORE CHURCHS AND LESS BARS AND CONDOS. IF ANY ONE OUT THERE KNOWS REV. JOE BURGOS OR HANK AND PRISCILLA MURRAY PLEASE HAVE THEM CONTACT ME AT smithcelestial@rocketmail.com I LEARNED MORE ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN FROM REV. RICE THAN I HAVE LEARNED ANYWHERE. REV, RICE HAD A DEBILITATING DISEASE BUT NEVER LET IT STOP HIM FROM BEING IN THE PULPET EVERY TIME THERE WAS A SERVICE. I HOPE WHOEVER GAVE THE GO AHEAD FOR THIS PROJECT THIKS LONG AND HARD BEFORE THEY TEAR DOWN ANOTHER CHURCH

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts