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St. Gregory the Great

Fortune Restoration was hired as the interior painting contractor to help restore the interior finishes of this Northside Chicago Church, St. Gregory the Great. The interior paint project that was undertaken was delicate and involved. The paint services completed at this Chicago Church reflect the hard work and attention to detail Fortune Restoration carries through to all of its Church painting projects.

The building of St. Gregory Parish began with a committee and hope that the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago would approve a plan. They were Luxembourgers and Germans and the year was 1904. The area west of Ashland and south of Bryn Mawr was sparsely settled with only two houses on Paulina between Balmoral and Bryn Mawr. The Mann family owned farmland extending to Bryn Mawr and Paulina with a farm house near Catalpa and Clark. After the approval of the bid to start a parish, two things happened. First, a pastor was appointed, Father Theodore Bonefas of Roseland. After he had second thoughts about moving north, a young assistant, Michael Klasen from St. Aloysius was appointed. It was Michael Klasen’s vision that lead the people of St. Gregory Parish to build and build. The second event that sent St. Gregory Parish on its way happened at a special meeting at Matt Everts Restaurant and Saloon on Ravenswood on July 13, 1904. That was the beginning of the building fund with a $5,000 donation by Peter Reinberg and the donation of pasture land along Bryn Mawr by Nick Mann. At that time many others made commitments in lesser amounts to the beginning of the parish and the education of the young.

The church that you see standing today was built for St. Gregory Parish in 1924 by architect Comes and Perry of Pittsburgh at a cost of $400,000. Its style is that of Medieval Romanesque churches that came to be known as English Gothic. The long nave and heavy columns and the beautiful wooden roof are just some of the remarkable architectural details of the interior. Since the fire in the choir loft two years ago it has undergone a complete restoration and repainting and its beauty is stunning. It stands on the site at Paulina and Gregory where the young Father Klasen had planted a willow tree when he first took over the leadership of this parish. St. Gregory continued to build after the jubilee in 1929. The old church/school was remodeled, a parish hall added along with an addition to the convent building.

In 1937, the architects, Vilzthum and Burns, designed the grade school building at 1634 W. Bryn Mawr. That same year, the parish opened a new high school to serve the students of the community using the available space in the grade school and the parish hall. In 1947, a new convent was built at Paulina and Gregory when the old Seifert home was razed. That year also saw the construction of the Klasen Gymnasium building in memory of its first pastor who died in 1945. In 1951, a fire in the 1905 brick Church precipitated the razing of that building and the construction of the high school building in 1952.