LOSS: Roseland’s St. Nicholas Church/ St. James Temple Demolished

St. Nicholas Catholic Church/ St. James Temple Church of God before demolition, March 2019. Photo Credit:Ward Miller / Preservation Chicago

Originally known as St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, later known as St. James Temple Church of God, and more recently as Cathedral of Faith M.B. Church has been demolished following an emergency demolition order.

This beautiful church was designed by William J. Brinkmann circa 1901 and was located at 11336 S. State Street in Roseland. After years of vacancy and deferred maintenance, the church’s beautiful exterior brick cladding began to fail. Reports of falling exterior brick near the main entrance was reported in December 2018, January 2019 and again in March 2019. The City of Chicago Department of Buildings sent inspectors and cordoned off the front of the church and sidewalk with caution tape to prevent injury to pedestrians. On July 12, 2019 the building was added to and released from the 90-Day Demolition Delay list.

As of a new report in March 2019, “according to the Chicago Department of Buildings, the historic church is being considered for Landmark status. A representative for the department said there is a live order of demolition for the church, but it hasn’t been rushed because of the possible status.” (CBS 2 Chicago, 3/22/19)

Preservation Chicago had urged officials over time towards reuse ideas and possible protections. As part of any reuse project, Preservation Chicago would have encouraged a Chicago Landmark Designation which could have provided access to Adopt-A-Landmark funds to aid in the stabilization of the church’s masonry. Stabilization would have cost far less than demolition and the Roseland community deserves better than another vacant lot.

This historic church could have be repurposed as a community center, performing arts center, nonprofit incubator or a variety of other uses including supportive housing that would help to bring jobs and vibrancy to Roseland. The building was located in Alderman Carrie Austin’s 34 th Ward and bordered Alderman Anthony Beale’s 9 th Ward across State Street.

Additional Reading:
Bricks Falling From Deteriorating St. James Temple As It Waits For Landmark Status Has Residents Concerned, CBS 2 Chicago, 3/22/19

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