Cool Building Wednesday: St. Dominic's Church

May 26, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

The former St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church has stood at Locust and Sedgwick for 105 years. Two completely different neighborhoods have come and gone during that time.

The old neighborhood was the first to go; bulldozed in the 1950s and 1960s to make way for the Cabrini-Green public housing development. Four decades later, most of Cabrini is gone--pushed aside for yet another a new community. The church has been closed since 1990. It hasn't fallen, but it sits. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese still owns the building and keeps it up rather well. Designed by William J. Brinkmann, the twin towered church is an Italian Romanesque design, a nod to the Italian immigrant community that lived in the parish when it was built. St Dominic was built to hold 1,000 worshipers, according to a Tribune story of the time. Cost: $60,000. It's also brick. And what brickwork it is:


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)

Brinkmann was responsible for a number of Chicago Catholic churches, including St. Francis at 817 W. Roosevelt; St. George at 96th and Ewing and the spectacular St. Michael's, a soaring brick beauty at 83rd and South Shore Drive. Brinkmann died in 1911 when he was killed by a northbound Rock Island train near 71st Street. His body and head were found two blocks apart. Brinkmann, who had been in ill health, lived near the line at 74th and Steward. Investigators wondered if he missed his stop and was killed while walking back home down the tracks (the line was not elevated there then) or if he "sought relief in death," as the Tribune put it, because of his medical condition.

His services were at St. Leo Church at 78th and Emerald--a church Brinkmann designed.