Did You Know Chicago, Illinois is Home to an Infamous Ghost Church?
For the last couple of weeks, I have been falling down the rabbit hole of abandoned buildings in Illinois, and the unique stories that go with them. I may be far too wimpy to take haunted tours or go exploring cool, abandoned buildings, but I sure like looking at photos and reading about them on the internet.
I think what intrigues me so much about old buildings and homes is the sense of sadness that surrounds them. I can just imagine what they looked like in their glory days and the fact that people have left them to rot breaks my heart a little bit.
Do You Know the Story Behind Chicago's 'Ghost Church'?
During one of my latest rabbit hole journeys I stumbled across the story behind Chicago's Zion Evangelical Luthern 'Ghost Church', a.k.a. The German Lutherische Zions Church.
Did you notice what is missing from this church? The entire inside! Doors, windows, walls are all gone, all that's left is the facade. Wacky, huh? Chicago's 'Ghost Church' has a long, traumatic history that involves fire, a devastating windstorm, and more.
According to chicagoandcookcountycemeteries.com, the church, located at 825 W 19th in Chicago, was built in the 1880s by German immigrants and was a refuge for all that lived in the neighborhood. The church was abandoned by its original congregation in 1956 and then caught fire in 1979. The fire destroyed the roof, all the stained glass windows, pews, and alter, and then in 1998, a windstorm took down its remaining walls, leaving the eerie facade we can still see today.
The church has since been purchased by a developer who had plans to demolish what was left of the building and redevelop the area, but then changed his mind due to its history. Chicagoandcookcountycemeteries.com says;
Today, the bell tower remains, restored over the last two years to its original 90-foot height and topped by a modern skylight. The remaining walls were stabilized, and what was once the church’s interior is a now a quiet garden sanctuary.
There's also a badly burned crucifix that still hangs on the building and has been protected from the elements. Yikes!