The striking Art Moderne First Church of Deliverance located at 4315 S. Wabash Avenue in Bronzeville received a $228,000 restoration grant from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development Adopt-a-Landmark fund on January 11, 2018. Funding for the Adopt-a-Landmark program is provided by developers in exchange for receiving zoning bonuses for new construction projects.
Designed by Walter T. Bailey in 1939, Illinois’ first licensed African-American architect, the church building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1994 making it eligible for Adopt-a-Landmark funds. The renovation will restore the Chicago Landmark building’s terra cotta façade, doors, and the interior murals painted by Chicago-based artist Fred Jones.
The First Church of Deliverance played a significant role in the history of gospel music. Since the 1940’s, its gospel music broadcasts established it as an important national center for the growth and innovation of this musical genre. Over the years, gospel and jazz music legends including Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and Sallie Martin performed at the church for its nationally-syndicated Gospel radio program.
Chicago is experiencing an extraordinary construction boom with unprecedented levels of new construction and investment. Preservation Chicago applauds the City of Chicago and its efforts to divert a portion of the massive capital investments in downtown super tall projects to Chicago Landmarks in the neighborhoods through the Adopt-a-Landmark Fund. This a powerful, successful, and effective tool to help all of Chicago to move forward together and to provide much needed renovation funds to important Chicago Landmarks located in the neighborhoods and underserved communities. It is hoped that these funds will continue to flow into the neighborhoods to help restore Chicago Landmarks suffering from years of deferred maintenance.
Preservation Chicago wants to encourage owners of Chicago Landmark Buildings to nominate their landmarks to this Adopt-a-Landmark program. Link to Adopt-a-Landmark program and link to download an application.