After years of uncertainty, the modest red-brick Hermon Baptist Church at 1754 N. Clark Street in Old Town is going to become the new home of Giordano Dance Chicago. The 54-year old arts organization, which boasts of being “America’s original jazz dance company,” plans to renovate the historic building to accommodate rehearsals and administrative space.
Michael McStraw, executive director of Giordano Dance Chicago, credited “the generosity of an anonymous individual donor” with expediting the sale.
The building had been on the market for years and multiple offers from developers intent on replacing the church building with a high-rise had failed due to opposition from the community.
Preservation Chicago is thrilled to see a good preservation outcome for this very early historic church building with fascinating ties to Chicago’s African-American history. “Named after a mountain outside Jerusalem, Hermon Baptist was founded by 13 African-American domestic workers who cooked and cleaned for Chicago’s Gold Coast residents. Tired of traveling to the South Side for church services, they launched Hermon.” (Bloom, DNA, 7/22/16)
Preservation Chicago believes that this is yet another example of how the arts and cultural organizations can repurpose and preserve former churches and religious buildings for generations to come.
Historic African-American Church in Lincoln Park Finds a Buyer, Ted Cox, April 27, 2017
Hermon Baptist Church Asking Price Cut To $3.5 Million, Ted Cox, January 17, 2017
140-Year-Old Church Back On Market After Neighbors Reject Condo Deal, DNAinfo, Mina Bloom, July 22, 2016