First Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
1301 N. LaSalle Dr. (enter on Goethe St.)
Gold Coast / Near North Side
Edward Dart, 1970
First St. Paul's was established just seven years after Chicago's founding. They called six different buildings home before arriving at their current location designed by noted Modernist Edward Dart. In 1847, the church hosted the founding convention of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, now the eigth-largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The space is spare but highly symbolic. There is no ornamentation to divert attention from the most important focal points: the pulpit, the Communion table and the Baptismal font. The sanctuary uses simple yet refined materials. The sweeping chancel wall of perforated Chicago common brick is dramatically illuminated by a high, hidden clerestory window that admits light without the distractions of the outside world. A statue of an angel stands in the church lounge. It is a remnant of the much more elaborate 1864 building that was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.