March is the month that we celebrate Irish American culture and St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s only befitting to feature the Old St. Patrick’s Church as the featured building of the month.
The St. Patrick’s Church also known as Old St. Pats has been described as “the cornerstone of Irish culture in Chicago.” Irish immigrants founded the church on Easter Sunday in 1846. It was the first English-speaking parish in the city. The church is also renown because it is the oldest public building in Chicago, surviving the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Pioneer Chicago architects Augustus Bauer and Asher Carter designed the church in a Romanesque style in 1850s. In the 1880s, architect James Willet added two octagonal spires, which represented Eastern Church and Western Church. Artist, Thomas A. O’Shaughnessy redesigned the interior with Revival Celtic style stained murals in the 1910s.
In 1977, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today the church is a flourishing beacon of Irish-American and Chicago history.