Historic walls of Bronzeville's St. James church come tumbling down

Reader photographs demo of 140-year-old Roman Catholic church.

July 23, 2013

St. James Roman Catholic Church is one of the city's oldest houses of worship.

Or at least it was. The neo-Gothic edifice at 2936 S. Wabash, is being demolished now.

It was too expensive to repair, the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese said, citing a $12 million pricetag. This blog first reported on the St. James's woes — and the archdiocese's wishes to demolish the nearly 140-year-old church — last October.

Reader Peggy Ryan took the above last weekend and sent it to me. Less than a year ago, St. James, though shuttered, still stood strong...

...so seeing it laid open in Ryan's pictures was like a punch to the gut. Presevationists within the congregation and around the city have spent the past several months rallying to save the church, but to no avail. Ryan's photo of the wrecked interior of St. James:

"While walking under the el tracks to photograph the church, I clearly understood what Richard Nickel felt about the demolition of the old Stock Exchange and how he came to be found in the rubble," Ryan wrote. "A love of history and beauty can do this to you."

Indeed, it can.

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