The historic Chicago Town and Tennis Club/Unity Church located at 1925 W. Thome Avenue behind Emmerson Park in West Ridge is threatened with demolition. The 3.5 acre site was recently sold for $7.5 million to Misericordia Homes which plans to demolish the historic building and construct a residential building to accommodate individuals with developmental disabilities.
Designed by Chicago architect George W. Maher in 1925, the Tudor-Revival Chicago Town and Tennis Club overlooked 16 tennis courts and extensive gardens. The building is orange-rated in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS). The tennis club closed and later became an Elks Club before becoming Unity Church. The building was carefully restored by Vinci-Hamp Architects for Unity Church, which converted the club dining room into its sanctuary. Other rooms were converted into an art gallery and a social hall. The building has retained much of its original stained glass, tile, and plasterwork. On the exterior of the building, original stone carvings depicting a pair of tennis rackets can be seen.
Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago, has been urging Misericordia and 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor to preserve the historic orange-rated building for reuse as a community center and dining hall. Because the historic building takes up only a small percentage of the expansive 3.5 acre site, Preservation Chicago encourages Misericordia to construct their new residential building elsewhere on the site.