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Downtown Churches


July, 2012: A renovation/ reuse is underway at St.Mary’s Catholic Church. Read more…


Four late-19th century churches stand vacant or underused in the heart of this historic Des Plaines River community. The most vulnerable are the two churches listed here —


each constructed of Joliet limestone. They occupy a city block adjacent to the Harrah’s casino complex and are vulnerable to demolition as part of Harrah’s expansion plans.


Christ Episcopal Church and Parsonage, 75 W. Van Buren St., Joliet


This English High Gothic Revival-style complex was designed by prominent Joliet architect, Frank Shaver Allen. Its primary structure was completed in 1887; the parish hall, parsonage, and chapel opened in 1926. It is the second oldest Episcopal Parish in the metropolitan Chicago area. Virtually all of the original elements are intact, including a red oak interior, castellated tower, rosette window, and rusticated ornamental stonework. The church was closed in 2003.


St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 113 N. Ottawa St., Joliet


This Gothic Revival-style church, built in 1882, has a central spire more than 200 feet tall. The interior of this Joliet limestone structure includes a large, stained glass skylight. Although the Diocese of Joliet closed the church in 1991, a small religious order still occupies the building.


  What Can I Do?  Please write to the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission to urge it to recommend local landmark designation for these endangered churches. (The Commission’s address is 150 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL 60432.) Joliet residents, in particular, should contact their City Council members to urge that these churches be saved.






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Chicago, IL 60604 
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