Bethesda Lutheran 1892                St. Michael Church School 1892                                 St. Michael Archangel
Bethesda Lutheran Church 
The church was founded in a home located at 10065 Indianapolis Boulevard on July 22, 1891. The pastor of Bethany Lutheran church from South Chicago, G. Lundahl, presided over the meeting. The original church was located at 10135 Avenue L and one could see Lake Michigan at that time from the back of the church. The cost of the original church was $236.95 since much of the labor was donated by church members. In the early years the services were conducted in Swedish and a summer school was held to make sure that the children of the church knew the Swedish language. On February 15, 1920 the church was destroyed by fire. For several years the services were held at various places around the neighborhood including Gallistel School, the Oddfellows Hall, St. Petri's Church, and the First Evangelical Church. On July 22, 1923, at a cost of $77,000, a new church, located at 105th and Avenue J, was dedicated. The cost did not include an organ nor interior decorations. In 1995 the 104 year old church, faced with problems of declining membership and financial problems, closed its doors and its members transferred to Lebanon Lutheran church in the Hegewisch community. A joint worship service of Bethesda and Lebanon churches on January 7, 1996 marked the closing of the church. 

St. Michael Polish Catholic Church 

As the Polish population of South Chicago increased, it became apparent that one church, Immaculate Conception, would not adequately serve their needs. St. Michael parish was organized from territory originally part of Immaculate Conception parish and referred to as the "Bush". The new church was founded in 1892 at 83rd and South Shore Drive. A small temporary building was used until a brick combination church-school building (shown above) was constructed at 83rd and Brandon. By 1907 the parish had 1200 families. In march 1907 ground was broken for a new church at 83rd and South Shore Drive. The architect was William J. Brinkman and he designed a magnificent Gothic structure which was dedicated on May 23, 1909. Poles continued to move into the area and in 1910 another Polish parish, St. Mary Magdalene parish at 84th and Marquette, was opened. By 1925 the enrollment of the parish school was over 1900 students. In 1937 a two year commercial high school was opened, later expanded to a four year academic program and eventually became a girls high school. The high point of St. Michael occurred under the leadership of Rev. John M. Lange who was assigned to the parish in 1915 and served as pastor until 1960 when he died. At that time St. Michael's had 2,000 families in membership, over 800 students in the elementary school, and 261 girls in the high school. The high school closed in 1968 due to declining enrollment. In recent years the ethnic makeup of the parish has changed from Polish to predominantly Mexican. At one time masses were said in Polish, English, and Spanish each Sunday. Visitors are impressed by the beautiful, magnificent interior of the church which was not changed, as so many Catholic churches were, after the Vatican II conference.

St. Bride Church 

Although not technically located in the South Chicago community, St. Bride,at is a territorial Catholic parish whose boundaries extend into South Chicago. When originally founded, its boundaries were from 67th Street to 87th Street and from Jeffrey to Lake Michigan, including "the three pretty suburban residence districts of Cheltenham, Windsor Park, and South Shore." The parish boundaries were reduced with the creation of St. Philip Neri and Our Lady of Peace parishes. The parish was organized as a mission by the Rev. Timothy Sullivan, pastor of St. Kevin Church in South Deering. It became a full parish in 1900 when Father Sullivan was assigned as permanent pastor. Ground was broken for a new French Gothic building at 78th and Coles Avenue in 1907 and the church was dedicated on June 6, 1909. Most of the early families were of Irish descent. 

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