Chicago Near North: Fourth Presbyterian Church

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The Fourth Presbyterian Church

 Location: Magnificient Mile/ Near North side, Chicago
at 126 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611

Architect: Ralph Adams Cram, America’s leading Gothic revival architect, best known for his work on the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City .

The parish house, cloister, manse, and garth were designed by prominent midwestern architect Howard Van Doren Shaw..

Founded: Feb, 1871
was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of Oct, 1871.  The church opened for services in 1914.  Except for the Old Water Tower, Fourth Presbyterian Church is the oldest building on Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River.

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Ornately carved wooden ceiling – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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CEILING: The ornately carved wooden ceiling is reminiscent of the ribs of the inverted ship [believed to reflect Viking influences on the English Gothic style].

NAVE: The nave, or the main seating area of the church, also has the same root as the word naval, reflecting the idea of a ship of souls.
PAINTINGS: All the paintings overhead were done under the direction of famed Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett.

ANGELS: Fourteen carved angels, each more than seven feet high, top the piers along the north and south ailes. Each of the angels is unique, many of them celebrate with instruments of praise.

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Nave – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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The Great West Window - Fourth Presbyterian Church

The Great West Window – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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GREAT WEST WINDOW :  The Great West Window is in Gothic style of very thick pieces of stained glass [to create the richest possible colors]. At the center is the risen Christ, flanked by angels on both sides and with the depiction of Moses, John the Baptist, and Isaiah in the bottom panels.

All the windows in the church were designed by Charles J. Connick of Boston.

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Baptismal Font, Lectern and Pulpit – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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LECTERN: The lectern from which the Scripture is read reflects the centrality of “the Word” in Presbyterian worship and theology.

PULPIT: The sermons during Sunday morning worship are preached from octagonal stone pulpit. From left to right the symbols represent Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

ORGAN PIPES: Most of the 6,603 organ pipes are in the area above and to the left of the “chancel” [the area in front of the church from which worship is led]. Two of the seven divisions of the pipes are in a separate chamber in the rear of the church, high above the magnificent East Window that faces Michigan Avenue.
Fourth Church’s renowned choirs sing from the choir loft above the chancel; the organist plays the four-manual, 126-rank Aeolian Skinner organ from a console in the center.

A rose in the chancel area marks an individual life passage in the congregation. Red is for a new birth [“gratitude for new life”] and white symbolizes a death in the Fourth Church family [“gratitude for life eternal”].

BAPTISMAL FONT: The baptismal font is carved from single block of black marble and bears the inscription “suffer the little children to come unto me”. The font is raised so as to be visible to all members of the congregation, who are expected to share in the spritiual guidance and nurturing of the person being baptized.

COMMUNION TABLE: The communion table is designed to be reminiscent of the Lord’s table at the Last Supper. Not an “altar” or object of worship, The table is rather a place around which representatives of the congregation gather to share and distribute the elements of Communion Sundays.

SACRAMENTS: Two sacraments of the Presbyterian Church are Communion and Baptism.

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Lectern – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Lectern - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Lectern – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Organ pipes – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

Fourth Presbyterian Church

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The Great East Window - Fourth Presbyterian Church

The Great East Window – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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GREAT EAST WINDOW: The Great East Window, over the rear balcony and facing Michigan Avenue, depict the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – along with Saints Peter and Paul [the taller figure in the second and fifth vertical panels]. The East Window was donated in memory of Nettie Fowler McCormick, window of the reaper investor Cyrus McCormick, by her children in 1930.

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Stained glass windows along the side aisles - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Stained glass windows along the side aisles – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Stained glass windows along the side aisles - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Stained glass windows along the side aisles – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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STAINED GLASS WINDOWS ALONG THE SIDE AILES: The stained glass windows along the side ailes are in the medieval painted style known as grisaille. These pastel windows let in as much natural light as possible while bathing the interior of the church in soft colors. Small diamonds in the center of each window contain various church related symbols.

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Stained glass windows along the side aisles - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Stained glass windows along the side aisles – Fourth Presbyterian Church

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Courtyard and Parish building - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Courtyard and Parish building – Fourth Presbyterian Church

 

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COURTYARD and PARISH BUILDING: Prominent Midwestern architect Howard Van Doren Shaw designed the parish building [the Tudor style structures surrounding the courtyard], which were built at the same time as the church and dedicated in March 1914.

CHILDREN’s FOUNATIN: The Children’s Fountain in the center of the courtyard, or “Garth”, was a gift from the architect Howard Van Doren Shaw.

 

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Courtyard, Parish and Children's Fountain - Fourth Presbyterian Church

Courtyard, Parish and Children’s Fountain – Fourth Presbyterian Church

 

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RELATED LINKS
Places of Worship: Churches & more.. click here..
Places of Worship: Temples & more.. click here..
Open House Chicago [OHC].. click here..

Photo Gallery / Church Art and Architecture.. click here..

Home: Public Art in Chicago.. click here..

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1 Comment to “Chicago Near North: Fourth Presbyterian Church”

  1. Stephanie P. says:

    Great pictures and informative captions, thanks very much! I’ve passed this several times and never went in, was always curious 🙂 Was just touched by the Rainbow Flag they just hung in front, atop their huge front doors this past weekend, June 2016, supporting the LGBT community and their awful loss. This parish is apparently beautiful inside and out, truly.

Leave a Reply to Stephanie P.