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Pleading For A Parish

1891_Local Businesscompressed

Despite the handicaps, Lake View continued to expand. Within the area were hundreds of Catholic families mostly of German, Irish, and Polish heritage. Each group yearned for the day when they could worship God in a church closer to home. To attend Mass on Sundays required a walk of at least three or four miles into the city, unless a family was well off enough to own a horse and buggy or lived near the Sedgwick horse car line.

Parishioners, especially German groups, pleaded with the Redemptorist Fathers to establish a mission in Lake View as an alternative to taking the long journey to St. Michael Church. As soon as it became possible the Redemptorists agreed and needed to identify a location. Father Essing, then pastor of St. Michael’s, and his advisers decided that the most promising site would be a city block circumscribed by Wellington, Southport, Oakdale and Greenview Avenues. With the approval of the Archbishop, Father Essing purchased five acres of land on January 22, 1882, for $9,000 from the Union Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Since the property was so far from the city, no one seemed pleased with the location. The Catholics of Nickersonville (the neighborhood along the river at Fullerton, Clybourn, and Courtland), had hoped to see the new parish established there. Those living in the vicinity of Clark and Diversey felt that the new parish would be of little advantage to them. Even those living around Lincoln and Sheffield avenues complained that the location was too far from the city. The Polish Catholics of Nickersonville later built their own church, St. Josaphat, and the Catholics on Clark Street established Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish a few years later.