Evangelical Covenant Church                                                            Saint Kevin's Church
Towing Max Stupar's Plane in Early 1900's                       St. Stephen's Social Club in Early 1920's
 
Evangelical Covenant Church
The Swedish Christians of this section of South Chicago had talked of the necessity of combining to form a church. They had their background in Lutheran, Methodist and Mission churches. There had been considerable discussion as to whether the new church should be Mission, Methodist or Lutheran. Those in favor of a Mission Church then met and formed the organization in 1883 under the name the Free Swedish Mission Church. On Sundays they first met in the Swedish Baptist church but after a few Sundays they arranged to meet in the old brick church, on Avenue J between 98th and 99th streets, where the First Evangelical Church was then located. At this time Rev. A. G. Nelson was pastor at Pullman and frequently journeyed to South Chicago on Sunday afternoons to preach and help the newly formed church. The little group was ambitious to have a church home of its own and was laying plans to fulfill that desire. In December 17, 1889 they held their first prayer meeting in their own building located on Avenue L between 100th and 101st streets. On September 3, 1892 the church voted to join the Covenant. It was then known as the Evangelical Covenant Church. In the summer of 1901, the church building was remodeled by being raised and a basement constructed under it . The gallery was built inside and the choir loft rearranged so that the appearance of the building was vastly improved both inside and outside. On March 28, 1979 the church burned and was gutted. However, the congregation rebuilt and continued to serve the community. The church closed its doors on June 29, 1997 after 114 years of service. 

Saint Kevin's Church

St. Kevins Catholic Church is located on 105th and Torrence Avenue on the Southeast Side of Chicago. In 1881, Father Martin A. Van de Laar, of St. Patrick's Church, organized a mission and began to keep separate records for this congregation in Cummings, as the area was then known. St. Kevin is a territorial Catholic parish. The current boundaries are from 103rd street to 125th Street (although few families live south of 109th Street) and from Torrence to Yates Avenue. It was officially established as a parish in 1884 under the leadership of Father Timothy O'Sullivan. Through these years the church underwent many obstacles. The parish held its services in a hall at 106th and Torrence for two years after which it moved to the public school at 108th and Calhoun. In the fall of 1885, Father O' Sullivan purchased six lots from Notre Dame University, which originally had plans to build a boys school there. It was not until July of 1887 that the first mass was said in the frame church (shown above) at 105th and Torrence. The original frame church was almost destroyed by a wind storm as it neared completion. Father Sullivan opened a mission church in Hegewisch, St. Columba, and later, another at St. Bride's in 1900. It is said that the pastor of St. Kevin's in 1900, Rev. David Crimmins, gave the name South Deering to the community formerly called Irondale or Cummings, to honor the head of the International Harverster Company for his generosity to the parish. The frame church building was replaced by a new building housing a church, school, and church hall in 1925. The architect of the new structure was James Burns. The first mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Day 1925. The original parishioners of St. Kevin's were predominantly Irish. The names of the sixteen parishioners killed during World War II (Cichantk, Gianquilio, Graff, Janotta, Juda, Kovacovich, Koziol, Krause, Mercon, Monocchio, Przybyla, Ruiz, Rios, Schoenfeld, Wisz, and Zehme) reflect the ethnic diversification that had taken place in the neighborhood by that time period. According to the 100th Jubilee booklet, published in 1981, the 300 families in the parish were 40% Mexican, 20% Irish, 20% Polish, and the remaining 20% Italian, German, Slav, and African American. At the time of the 100th Anniversary the school had 110 students enrolled. In a recent interview Pastor Alfredo Gundrum, who has been there since July of 1994, stated that one of the best aspects of St. Kevin's history was the integration of Hispanics into the parish. The present ethnic make up of the congregation, according to Fr. Gundrum is 60 % Mexican, 38% mixed white ethnic, and 2% African American. 

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