St. Joseph Church (Near North Side)
1107 N. Orleans St.
Near North Side
St. Joseph Parish, the third oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago, established in 1846 for the German immigrants of the city. The first parish church stood at Chicago Avenue and Cass Street (now Rush Street), followed by a basilica-style church built in 1862 at the same site— the latter burned in 1871 during in the Great Chicago Fire. The congregation completed the current church in 1878, with the bell tower, high altar, and reredos added in 1884 and stained-glass windows from Germany installed in 1905. In 1915, the right of way for the elevated train lines was purchased from the parish, with tracks running outside just behind the altar. This provided funds for a pipe organ and marble and bronze altar rails. In 1956, the Gothic front exterior was radically altered in a modernization effort, popular at that time. The Archdiocese later restored and renovated the property after acquiring the parish in 2001.