click images for larger viewThe distant view, through Sherman Park, is a glimpse of something weird, almost Gaudian.
As you get to the edge of the park, at 52nd street, you come upon the immensity of it.
St. John of God church is one repeated throughout the changing neighborhoods of every city. A great house of worship built to serve an influx of immigrants - in this case, Polish. Designed by Henry J. Schlacks, whose Renaissance facade was described by the AIA Guide to Chicago as a masterpiece, St. John of God was completed in 1920. By 1922, 2,400 families called it their parish. Then, as the story always goes, those families begin to disperse as white flight claims the neighborhood. Membership plummets, and, in 1992, the church is closed, a grand edifice sealed for an uncertain future. In time, after few can even remember when the building was active, it's demolished. A piece of architecture that defined the lives of tens of thousands of people vanishes into thin air.
St. Raphael the Archangel in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, near the Wisconsin border.
For now, a single automobile tire rests incongruously in the foyer. Rubble is everywhere, even framing the great altar.