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Holy Family Church

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Holy Family Church


Structure in General

existing [completed]


church (roman catholic)


  • Chicago's second-oldest church, built from 1857 to August 1860. (The oldest is Old St. Patrick's at Adams & Desplaines Streets.) The tower was completed later, in 1874.
  • The church walls are covered in stencils patterned after the style of William Morris.
  • At one time was the United States' largest English speaking congregation, with over 25,000 parishioners.
  • According to legend, when the Chicago Fire started in 1871 (a few blocks east), it was spreading toward the church when its pastor Fr. Damen invoked Our Lady of Perpetual Help to save the building, promising to light 7 perpetual vigil lights (which are on to this day). After his prayer the fire turned the other way and spared the church.
  • The 12 Tiffany-designed windows are the oldest stained glass windows in Chicago, and depict Jesuit saints in missionary dress.
  • Connected by a small passageway to St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, the tallest high school in Chicago.
  • Closed in 1984, the church was narrowly spared demolition in 1990 through the fundraising efforts of Fr. George Lane and the Holy Family Preservation Society.
  • Notable parishoners have included Patrick & Catherine O'Leary, owners of the world's most famous cow.
  • The elaborate Gothic altarpiece measures 30'-3" wide by 52 feet high.
  • Contains 29 wooden statues by 19th Century sculptor Charles-Oliver Dauphin - the largest collection of that artist's work in the world.

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1080 West Roosevelt Road
1199 South May Street
1080 West Roosevelt Road
Near West Side

Technical Data

226.00 ft
226.00 ft

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