Friday, September 21, 2012

Second Presbyterian enters the 21rst century with new sign

New electronic sign in front of Second Presbyterian
Church asks a provocative question.

Have you noticed the new electronic sign at Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave.? The church was dedicated, according to Second Presbyterian’s Web site, in 1874.

Designed by architect James Renwick, who also designed Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the church roof and interior was damaged by fire in 1900. It was rebuilt by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Shaw enlisted friend and fellow Prairie Avenue resident Frederic Clay Bartlett to help with the interior design. The original Gothic interior was replaced with decorations heavily influenced by the British and American Arts and Crafts movement.

The church, as it stands today, looks pretty much as it did when rebuilt, with the exception of a wood steeple that blew down in a storm. The church has some pretty impressive artwork inside, including stained glass windows by Louis C. Tiffany, Healy and Millet, William Fair Kline, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Beautiful Michigan Ave. entrance to
Second Presbyterian
What do you think of the electronic sign? Does it fit in with a structure built in the 19th century and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1974) and designated as a Chicago Landmark (1977)?

If you’re interested in learning more about this historic church, visit the Friends of Historic Second Church Web site.


  1. This sign makes me so sad. I'm not a fan.

    But the church is a stunner.

    1. It is a beautiful church. It's amazing to me that so many people in our neighborhood are unaware of this architectural wonder in our midst. Thanks for "stopping" by, Molly.


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