The "Hidden Chicago" program on PBS has some interesting facts about Uptown. One surprise was that Our Lady of Lourdes Church, at Leland and Ashland, was once on the southeast corner of the intersection, rather than the southwest one, and faced Ashland rather than Leland. It used to be located in what is now a parking lot, across from Chase Park, next to the former Parish Hall, and it all happened in 1929. Let Geoffrey Baer tell it:
"As the population exploded, the city's re-named, re-numbered and re-paved streets were clogged with traffic, so in another massive project, Chicago's arterial streets were widened. 'And the way that they did this was just by chopping off the fronts of buildings, something that today just seems unimaginable....'Here are some photos from the Chicago Library Digital Collection, at the Sulzer Library, of the event. The last one is of the church as it looks now.
Further north, the widening of Ashland threatened Our Lady of Lourdes Church, so the congregation moved the massive brick edifice across the street. Fifty men, two tractors and several teams of horses were used to move the ten thousand ton church. Once across the street, it was rotated 90 degrees to face the cross street. As long as they were moving the church, they also decided to cut it in half and add a thirty foot addition to the middle, increasing the seating capacity by 300 people."
|The church in its original location, where the parking lot is now,|
facing Ashland Avenue