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Pilgrim Baptist Church
3301 S. Indiana Ave.,
Chicago (Cook County)



A Special 11th Designation


A collective wave of remorse was felt in January, when live footage of a devastating fire on this site aired on local and national media outlets. Sparked by a roofer’s torch, the fire completely destroyed the building’s ornate interior and wood-frame roof. Originally constructed in 1891 as a Jewish synagogue for Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv, this was a rare example of ecclesiastical design by Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan.


When Pilgrim Baptist acquired the building in 1922, the church quickly became a spiritual home to African-Americans who came to Chicago during the Great Migration of the 1920s and 30s. The church also is widely regarded as the birthplace of gospel music. Recent structural reports have confirmed that the building’s surviving four walls are stable. However, the question of whether—and how—to restore the building remains a difficult financial and philosophical preservation challenges.










Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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