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Church of the Holy Family


1080 W. Roosevelt Rd.


Near West Side


Sat, Oct 14: 10am - 3pm

Sun, Oct 15: 12pm - 5pm

Photography Permitted Washrooms Available Wheelchair Accessible


Dillenburg & Zucher and John M. Van Osdel, 1860


Church of the Holy Family is Chicago's only surviving example of pre-Civil War Victorian Gothic architecture. Jesuit priest Father Arnold Damen, S.J., began construction of the church in the midst of the Financial Panic of 1857. The Gothic edifice was completed three years later under the supervision of architect John Van Osdel.

The church’s clerestory windows contain the oldest stained glass in Chicago. Anton Buscher’s 1865 main altar, originally illuminated by gas jets, was electrified by incandescent lights in 1899. Louis Wisner, a German Lutheran, carved the communion railing in 1866, and Charles-Olivier Dauphin of Montreal created the organ case with its life-size figures holding musical instruments. In the east transept of the church are the “seven lights” Father Damen pledged to keep burning if Holy Family was spared destruction in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The church was spared, and the lights remain aglow to this day.

Visitor Experience

The church will be open for self-guided exploration, with staff members and volunteers on hand to answer questions. Brochures will be available as well.