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.