Landmark Chicago Church Burns
This website has
looked at a number of churches related architecturally to Shadyside
Presbyterian. One such church,
an architectural landmark in
Pilgrim Baptist Church (l), Shadyside Presbyterian Church (r)
The similarities run
much deeper than round arch openings and coursed, quarry-faced random
ashlar. Both represent a
simplification of the basic cube and lantern
Trinity Church, Boston
Trinity’s polychrome, turrets, crockets and complex fenestration
disappear. The transepts are
retained (the apse was a later addition), but are subordinated to the
lantern tower. The tower, then, defines the church by dominating the proportions.
Such quieting of the architecture was already evident in
Marshall Field Warehouse
Adler & Sullivan
forged much farther ahead than was called for by Shadyside’s
architectural program. The
fenestration pattern of the synagogue recalls that of Marshall Field, as
does the monumental rectangular cube of the lower building.
The designers squash the lantern into a rectangular prism, suiting
the auditorium worship space. The
auditorium is one floor above the street – a feature of the original
synagogue that is often used by Baptist congregations (as at
Ornament Detail from Pilgrim
The loss of this church is not only architectural. Historically, much development of gospel music took place there. The song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" was introduced there. It remained an active spiritual and social force in the community. (See photo collection) While early reactions are to rebuild on the site, reproduction of the building would be a daunting task. The exquisite Sullivan ornament inside the church may be prohibitive financially and impractical artistically to restore. Fortunately, there has been strong initial support.
The incident serves
as a cautionary tale to the stewards of landmark buildings.
Several years ago, it was estimated that nearly $3 million was
needed to preserve the structure. The
fire may have been started by a torch used for roof repairs.