A Project by
the Museology Class
 South Deering Churches
Southeast Side Home Page
 South Deering Churches
 Sacred Heart Church
 St. Patrick's Church
St. Michael Archangel Serbian Orthodox Church
Saint Kevin's Parish

St. Kevin's Church, School, and Rectory

        St. Kevin's Church is located at 105th and Torrence Avenue. It  was founded in 1884 for the Irish people of the community in South Deering.  St. Kevin's Church under the direction of former pastor of St. Patrick Church in Maytown Illinois, Father Timothy D. O'Sullivan,  was established  to keep separate records for the congregration of South Deering. 
        Early land history about the premises of St. Kevin's Church indicate that  the University of  Notre Dame owned  the six lots where the church was constructed.  Notre Dame intended to build a boy's school but since the area of South Deering becoming more industrially properous the plan was cancelled.
        Father O'Sullivan made many contributions to Irondale and other surrounding neighborhoods. The influence of Father O' Sullivan was a factor in developing the character of children and adults of the area.  He ministered to the needs of the Catholics in Glenwood, Illinois and had a major role in the construction of St. Columba parish in Hegewisch.  Father O'Sullivan performed charity to the Catholic congregation especially in the Cheltenham section of South Shore where he directed the construction of St. Bride Church. 
        All of the wonderful contributions Father O' Sullivan made to South Deering were missed when he left to become the first resident pastor of St. Bride Parish. Before he left the congregation of South Deering he had served the community for sixteen years.  With the departure of Pastor O'Sullivan came Reverend Richard H. McGuire from St. Elizabeth Church. Father McGuire  was very sick and served the community only twenty months before his death on May 16, 1902. The new pastor was Reverend David Crimmins of St. Ann's Church. 
        Reverend David Crimmins bought many changes to the community. Both he and his assistant, Father Matthew Hanley organized many societies, including Father Matthews Temperance Society, the Mandolin Club, Holy Name Society, and the Marrieds Ladies Society. Father Crimmins honored the International Harvester Company in appreciation to their donations to the church by naming the area offically known as Cummings, in honor of the president of the New York Central Railroad and Irondale, due to the community's steel mills.
         A new building was constructed in 1925  to house the church, school, and hall.  The school consisted of first grade to fourth grade. The new church was dedicated on Christmas Day,1925. The building was completed and opened on September 19, 1926 by Cardinal Mundelein.  An arsonist fire occurred on January 31,1945  inside the church that drenched some of the school rooms. Damages to the parish were estimated to be $25,000.
        The parish began to increase in membership as Catholic families began to purchase new homes in Jeffery Manor and Merrionette Manor. The Chicago Housing Authority integrated the Trumbull Park Homes at 106th and Bensley Avenue in 1953.
        St. Kevin's Church originally was predominantly Irish.  More recently, the 300 families that belong to the parish are 40% Mexican, 20% Irish and 20% Polish. The rest of the congregation (20%) includes Italian, German, and Black families who live in the area bounded by 103rd St. on the north, 109th on the south, Lake Calumet on the west, and the Calumet river on the east. 

Click on the links at the left to tour
Chicago's South Deering Churches.

Teachers' Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
Illinois University