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St. James Catholic Church: Demolition Slated For 132-Year-Old Bronzeville Structure

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St. James Church/Facebook
St. James Church/Facebook

Tuesday may be the last Christmas ever for the St. James Catholic Church in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood.

The 19th century neo-Gothic church is expected to be demolished soon, as the Chicago Archdiocese said the church is in too poor of condition and that rebuilding is financially unfeasible. Kennedy estimated restoration costs at $12 million.

"It needs to be rebuilt, essentially, or demolished," Tom Kennedy, the archdiocese's director of real estate told WBEZ in October when the demolition request was first filed.

As one of the city's oldest houses of worship, St. James hasn't been in good enough condition to hold mass in two years, according to the Tribune.

The Archdiocese's demolition permit was initially deferred, reports Fox Chicago; the 132-year-old limestone church is on the city's list of historically significant buildings. Two days before Christmas, however, the deferral expired.

The congregation has been meeting just blocks away from the church's 2942 South Wabash location where plans to build a new church on Michigan Ave are taking place, according to CBS Chicago.

If St. James does meet the wrecking ball, parts of the church may live on: CBS says there are plans to save the historic bell tower, while Fox reports the "world class" organ will be salvaged as well.

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