Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 1949 -- Architect Chosen for the New St. Peter's

September 26, 1949 – Chicago learns that the architectural firm of Vitzhum and Burns has won a competition for the design of a church and Franciscan friary to be located at 108-116 West Madison Avenue, the site of the La Salle Theater.  The church, St. Peter’s, will replace one that was built at 816 South Clark Street just four years after the Great Fire in 1871.  The Franciscan Fathers made some darned good deals in the process of arranging for their new place of worship.  In 1942 the order bought the ten-story Woods Theater building from the Marshall Field estate for $600,000, property that it sold in June of 1949 for $1,200,000.  At the same time the order bought the site for the new church from the Marshall Field estate for $515,000.  The plans for the new building include a 1,600-seat auditorium, a chapel above the main auditorium that will seat 300, with the two upper floors serving as the friary.  Some heavy hitters participated in the competition, including Edo J. Belli, Nairne W. Fischer, Hermann J. Gaul, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, Rapp and Rapp, and Shaw, Metz and Dolio.  Due to the scarcity of building materials in the post-war years it took awhile to finish the new St. Peter’s, but the church finally opened in 1955.

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