East Village's St. Boniface Church staved off the wrecking ball again

Date: 
12/20/2012
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Looking northeast from Noble

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Northwest side of church

With a possible developer to turn St. Boniface Church at Noble and Chestnut into a senior citizen center, it was a blow when it appeared there was going to be a demolition order signed on Wed., Dec. 19, to raze the Romanesque Revival style church.

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In a 2 p.m. special meeting, developers were given until Jan. 15, 2013, to have a finance package in place. According to Jonathan Fine, Preservation Chicago's Executive Director, "We are all very happy to have had this result." The City was among those happy to have the outcome.

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At ground level of northwest side of structure

Designed by architect Henry J. Schlacksuilt and built between 1896 and 1904, it was closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1990. Local community activists staved off demolition of the historic building in 1999, purposing it be turned into a branch library.

In 2003 Preservation Chicago put the East Village structure on its Chicago 7 historic buildings to be saved list. After a complicated land swap agreement was reached between the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Board of Education and Institutional Project Management, LLC, IPM became the owners of St. Boniface on Oct. 20, 2010.

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Weeds have found safe haven above the arches

As described by Preservation Chicago, "St. Boniface, named for the patron saint of Germany, was established for German immigrants in 1865. After The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, St. Boniface provided refuge for the great masses that were displaced. Later, one of its parish priests, Father Evers, lead the effort to condemn the 10 acres adjacent to the church, which is now Eckhart Park. The historical changes of the ethnic makeup of the congregation mirror the same transitions that are the very history of the West Town neighborhood."

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