1713 West Sunnyside Avenue
An interesting design contrast with the other churches in the neighborhood.
This church, designed by N. Max Dunning and Clarence A. Jensen, takes inspiration from Greek temple forms found in the Pantheon and elsewhere. Classical architecture was quite typical in Christian Science churches in Chicago and many cities. What is not typical is the very high quality of design present here. Note the Superb proportions of the east facade, which express vertical thrust through the Ionic
columns and horizontal breadth through the width of the portico. This facade’s proportions, the monumental scale of the building, the skillful use of terra cotta ornament, the stained glass, and the copper lanterns flanking portico, all set this building aside as one of the city’s finest classical structures.
The building was extraordinarily expensive by the standards of its time, when Ravenswood’s largest and finest houses sold for only $6,000 or $8,000. Taking inflation in house prices into account, this building’s cost of $175,000 is equivalent
to about $10 million in 2000 dollars.
N. Max Dunning (1873-1945) was one of Chicago’s ‘most prominent architects, the designer of the American Furniture Mart, American Book Company Building also known as the Lakeside Press Plant #3 at 330 E. Cermak, and, with E. E. Roberts, the Oak Park Baptist Church. In this case, Dunning collaborated with Clarence A. Jensen, a lesser-known architect.
The original Christian Science congregation moved out in the early 1980’s. A succession of other congregations have followed, the most recent of which, prior to the Philadelphia Romanian Church, was the Lakeshore Family Church. in the late summer of 1993. The church, which owned the building and adjacent parking lot, signed a contract with a Lincoln Park real estate developer for the purchase of the
three-quarter acre site and its building. He proposed to tear down the church and construct some 32 apartments and townhouses on the site, using setbacks and density levels inconnsistent with norms in the neighborhood, and which would require zoning change.
In the course of the following several months, community opposition grew. A few days before Christmas, 1993, at a community meeting, residents by an overwhelming vote rejected the proposed zoning change and recommended that the City Council also reject it. Shortly thereafter, the Lakeshore Family Church decided to nullify its contract with the developer and sell the site instead to another church, the current owners, who restored the building.
WALKING DIRECTIONS TO NEXT LOCATION
Continue the tour to 4500 North Paulina Street.
- Cross the street, about 33′ north from you.
- Click the ‘Continue the Tour’ button below when you’ve reached your destination.