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Bache Memorial Chapel

Douglas County


Built 1972


In April the Bache Memorial Chapel in Cartwright Cemetery in rural Tuscola was demolished. The reinforced concrete chapel was a rare example of Brutalism-style architecture in rural Illinois. Anthony Rubano of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said it was “the most significant modernist building that has been lost outside the Chicago


region, since the demolition of Champaign’s Christian Science Student Center in 1988.” The chapel was built with funds from the trust of Joseph Lloyd Bache, a schoolmaster with no descendents who compiled a modest fortune through lifetime investments.


The Urbana-based architect Joseph Coble carried out the design in accordance with Bache’s wishes – to design a modern interpretation of a traditional English church. Cemetery trustees claimed the demolition was necessary due to lack of funds to maintain the chapel, which hadn’t been used for several years. The loss of this building has raised for LPCI the issue of needing better surveys of historic and architecturally important resources in rural areas, as well as surveys of architecture of the recent past.











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