Geichichte der Kathol Kirche Chicago

A History of the Catholic Church in Chicago

This book, published in 1889, features a section on the founding of St Teresa parish. The translation is below:

Cover of original German Book about founding of St Teresa Parish

Cover of original German Book about founding of St Teresa Parish

Interior page from German book about St Teresa Parish from 1889

Interior page from German book about St Teresa Parish from 1889

Drawing of original church, 1889, from German book about St Teresa Parish

Drawing of original St Teresa’s church, 1889

The Parish of St. Theresia

from Geichichte der Kathol Kirche Chicago’s

by J. C. Bürgĺer
with special consideration of German Catholicism”
Chicago, Illinois 1889

A short time before the aforementioned historical report ended, the fourth and newest parish was founded on the north side of Chicago.  The three predecessors are the parishes of St. Joseph,  St. Michael, and St. Alphonsus.  The two last mentioned parishes primarily gave up their area to the new St. Theresia parish whereas the parish to the west, St. Bonifatius, gave up districts to the new parish of St. Theresia, but not many German Catholic families lived in the area.

The new parish of St. Theresia covers the area between North Avenue on the South, Halsted Street on the East, Ashland Avenue and the River on the West, and Dunning Street (now Altgeld) to the North.

It is a beautiful and healthy part of the city with mostly brick buildings.  The parish extends over a square mile in which about 300 German Catholic families live.  They previously belonged to one of the aforementioned parishes.  Because the parishioners in the aforementioned parishes had a long distance to their respective churches and the children had difficulties travelling to school, the Archbishop auf Anrathen and the Redemptorist pastor of St. Michael, decided to found a new German parish.

For the execution of this important and difficult undertaking, Archbishop Feehan consulted with Father W.M. Barth who was, until then, the pastor of the Sts. Peter and Paul church on the south side of Chicago.  Father Barth was very successful in founding the parish of Sts.  Peter and Paul as well as the parish of Franz von Cales in Colehour (Francis de Sales).  “One of East Side’s most well known churches is St. Francis de Sales which began in 1888.  At the time, a mission of Sts. Peter and Paul Church.  Soon after, the parish was established as a territorial parish to serve Catholic families in the Colehour district (now known as the East Side.  NEIU).”   During this time, St. Francis De Sales was unofficially considered as a German Parish.  He showed and proved his organizational talent, his ardor, and his business ability in outstanding form.

At the beginning of August 1889, Father Barth started his new assignment.  First he chose an important saint, St. Theresia, to protect and intercede for the parish.  Then a building site was needed which was not as easy task because the district was already heavily built upon.  But finally they were successful.  Thirteen lots at the corner of Centre and Osgood Streets (now Armitage and Kenmore Avenues) in the middle of the parish, were bought.  The price was $17,000.

At the feast of Holy St. Theresia on October 15th, the ground for a beautiful school building was broken.  The school was built according to the plans of architect Adolphus Druiding.  The top floor was to serve as a church for a while until the parish was able to build a bigger and more beautiful church.  This building is 58 by 90 feet.  On the first floor, four classrooms each measuring 26 by 32 feet were built.  Initially on the second and third floor, only one room was created which reached 39 feet in height and was used as a church at first.  Later on, when this room would no longer be used as a church, another floor can be added over the second story allowing four more classrooms to be added.  This also allows space for a beautiful, vaulted hall.  The building will be equipped with a warm water heating system.  The work will proceed under the leadership of the well known Peter Ebertshaeuser Brothers as contractor.

The cost will be approximately $18,000.  The school of St. Theresia will be staffed by the Sisters of  “Christian Loving” (Sisters of Charity) from Malinkrodt.

– translation courtesy of Christine Hodson