Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspired by my new...

...favorite blog, A Chicago Sojourn, I snapped a few pictures yesterday when I was walking through Logan Square.* I was killing time while my dog, Stewart, was having his underwater treadmill therapy (or whatever it was).

As I turned back toward Integrative Pet Care, on Armitage just west of Western, I came upon what I thought at first was a church, above. (The crosses gave it away.)

But as I got closer, I thought it was a condo building which had once been a church. Here's a closer look at that spire on the corner. (I wish I knew more about architecture!)

An even closer look, at the northwest corner of McLean and California, shows "Salem Evangeliske Frikirke" over a door.

According to this, by 1910 the Norwegian community in Chicago had migrated north and west from Wicker Park into Humboldt Park and Logan Square. Originally named Salem Norwegian Free Church, it was later changed to Salem Evangelical Free Church. (Why "Salem?" I wondered.)

 As you turn the corner completely, you see two cornerstones, one which says "God is Love" and the other dating its completion to 1908.

And on the California side, there's a sign reading Good News Bible Church/Iglesia Evangélica Libre Salem. So it is an active church after all, not a condo building.

From the church's website:

Good News Bible Church is an Evangelical Free Church in the Humboldt Park/Logan Square community of Chicago. An urban community of believers, GNBC is made up of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Good News began in 1979 and worships in the historic facilities once populated by the Salem Evangelical Free Church, birthplace of TEAM Missions, and is one of two congregations that make up this church (the other congregation is the Spanish-speaking Iglesia EvangĂ©lica Libre Salem.) On June 3, 2003, Good News completed a merger with the existing English-speaking congregation.

There's also this undated picture on the "Our Story" page:

Where's that big steeple on the corner of McLean and California? It appears to be sawed off. (The one I took is on the far left of that picture, near the alley.) What happened to it? How do you lose something like that?

It's interesting how that neighborhood has changed. What was once a blue-collar part of town is rapidly gentrifying with hipsters spilling over from Wicker Park. One thing is for sure, though: you won't see any Norwegians there! They all decamped for the suburbs a long time ago.

* If you really want to be specific, it's actually Palmer Square, which is a "pocket neighborhood" within Logan Square.

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