National Trust Pushes for Preservation

National Trust Pushes for Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has added its voice to a growing chorus of parishioners, preservationists and local residents fighting to save the historic Shrine of Christ the King.

In a statement released January 19, Mary Lu Seidel, Field Director for the Trust, urged decision makers to not begin destruction of the nearly 100-year-old church.

“As stewards of our City’s great architectural and historical legacy, we need to be sure that demolition of an historic structure is done only as a very last resort,” Seidel wrote. She also notes that there are “local groups supporting further study and recruiting developers who would preserve the structure” and asks for “delay by 30-60 days to allow time to explore the preservation option and emergency stabilization needs.”

Read the complete statement here.

A heartfelt statement from a parishioner

The following statement was submitted to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks

January 6, 2016

To Whom It May Concern,

I write to oppose the demolition of the Shrine of Christ the King in Woodlawn, previously St. Clara’s and St. Gelasius. The Shrine is a beautiful building which enriches a part of Chicago in need of beauty and stability. Its Renaissance Revival and neo-Baroque elements are valuable both as belonging to a recognizable early 20th-century Chicago ecclesiastical style and for their distinctive combination in this unique design. The church is one of the masterworks of Chicago architect Henry Schlacks, whose legacy in the city has already been diminished with the demolition of St. John of God (1920) in 2011. Read more

Landmarks Illinois’ statement regarding the Shrine

The following statement was submitted to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Landmarks Illinois
Statement Requesting Demolition Deferral for
the former St. Gelasius Church, 6401-09 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago
Commission on Chicago Landmarks
Thursday, January 7, 2016

Good afternoon Commissioners:

Landmark Designation for the former St. Gelasius Church, located at 6401-09 S. Woodlawn Avenue in the historic Woodlawn neighborhood, was a long and hard-fought effort from 2003-04. As we know, the church is a great architectural achievement, designed by Henry Schlacks in the Renaissance Revival style, and has been an important architectural symbol for the Woodlawn community for nearly 90 years.

In 2004, when it was officially landmarked by Chicago’s City Council, this action was a result not only of the hard work of advocates like our organization and many other organizations and people in this room, but of the City too, which was an essential partner in the effort to protect this irreplaceable monument. At the time of the landmark decision, numerous Chicago aldermen, officials from the city’s legal department, the Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development and Mayor Daley had all publically stated the importance of landmarking St. Gelasius and the City’s desire to assure its protection. We ask that the City once again be a partner in facilitating a solution to protect this landmark. Read more

Contact Alderman Cochran

If you live, work, worship, or volunteer in the 20th Ward, this is your community! Let the alderman know what you think:

Ald. Willie B. Cochran
20th Ward Service Office
6357 S Cottage Grove, Chgo 60637

City Hall
121 N LaSalle, Room 300
(312) 744-6840


He has a television show that airs on 1/18 on CAN-TV – the 20/20 Vision, 20th Ward News & Views
Leave a message for him there: 312-738-1400, or