Holy Name Cathedral II
Life Span: 1875-Present
Location: 733 N. State Street
Architect: Patrick Charles Keely
733 N. State street, on the northeast corner of E. Superior street, was built in 1874-75 by Brooklyn Architect Patrick Charles Keely. An addition was by Henry J. Schlacks, architect. Spread foundations were used, but in 1915 four caissons were built under the spire, which is 210 feet high.
In 1888, the first of several Cathedral renovations begins. The quick, post-fire construction has left Chicago with a cathedral literally “sagging” on its Superior Street side.
Chicago Evening Post, April 7, 1873
THE HOLY NAME.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Name, which was located on State and Superior streets, a very large building, was entirely wiped out by the great disaster. Hardly anything remains to indicate where its imposing spire once soared toward the clouds. The congregation now bend to heaven in a very humble wooden contrivance, situated opposite their old site. Nothing definite has yet been done in the way of restoration. The Catholic colony in that region sufferd very heavily, but the diocese is rich, and, doubtless, the edifice will not be delayed for any lack of funds. Meanwhile, be it observed, the congregation has been always noticeable for its generosity in church matters. It is stated that the new building, when it is undertaken, will be rendered in every respect worthy of the premier church of the Catholic community in Chicago.
Holy Name Cathedral II
Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1875
The new Cathedral of the Holy Name was dedicated yesterday in the presence of 4,000 persons crowded within the edifice, and several thousands in the adjacent streets. The event is the most important which has occurred in the history of the Catholic Diocese of Chicago for many years. The church has cost about $250,000. The altar, which is if solid marble, cost $5,000. The dedication was solemnized by three prelates and a large body of clergy. One of the striking features of the occasion was a successful attempt to restore a pure style of ecclesiastical music. The oration delivered by Bishop Ryan is considered the most ornate and eloquent ever pronounced in the West by a Catholic speaker, and is given in full.
stands on the southwest corner of North State and Superior streets, fronting on State street. It is admitted to be the most graceful and majestic pile in Chicago, its external beauty arousing the admiration of all classes of people. In its Gothic grandeur theology is lost, and the deicate spire, which carries its white head, like a prayer, into the clouds, bears upward the aspiration of Jew and Gentile so much of beauty dedicated to the service of the Almighty shall rebound in blessing upon mankind. The structure, while extremely elaborate in design, is singularly free from affectation; it is, in this respect, a model of chaste and learned conception. There is not an unnecessary stone; nor would symmetry anywhere suggest the use of another. It is almost the only church in Chicago in whose exterior even the untutored eye may not point out a hideous deformity, a ludicrous omission, or a contradiction of associations. Some of our churches are crowded down on their sites like mushrooms; others are gluttonous Falstaffs, broader than they are long; still others are thrown together, piecemeal, loose and shapeless, as if their theology were all at ends, with no desire or permission of unity; and the latest style is illustrated in a notable edifice which throws a coliseum roof over its jocund head, hangs a lightning-like red-and-black chandelier, theaterwise in the centre of the house, puts a trumpet in the choir, and a jaunty feather in its head, and advances in the way of the Lord, rejoicing and exceeding merry. Others are dismal without and sombre within, filled with a dark and clammy atmosphere replete with suggestion of sepulchres and shadows of phantoms hoofed and tailed,—like the Holy Family Church,—which would be grand, like Phillipé Napoleon, were it not, like him, gloomy and peculiar. But artist and Christian alike find it difficult to make a fault in the new Cathedral. Massive, enduring, and founded on the rock, it is also—if such attributes may be applied to architecture—a manifestation of the cheering and hopeful qualities of religion. Delightfully free from coldness or disdain, it illuminates the fancy of the stranger by its splendor, and invites the alien in creed to share the happiness of a faith which finds it most pleasing expression in such joyous proportions. Silently aggressive, it attracts and charms.
- Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail,
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise or blame, nothing but well and fair.
So perfect are the proportions of length and breadth that one is surprised at the extent of the area covered by the site. The length is 216 feet, and its greatest width, in the cruciform transept, 102 feet. It is, therefore, within a few feet of the ground dimensions of the Jesuit Church, on West Twelfth street, which gives a delusive idea of immense size. The seating capacity of the Cathedral exceeds that of any other church in the city, being 2,300 in the pews, with area room for 1,000 more. There are three entrances on State street, the central 20 feet, those on the sides 12 feet,—the doors all opening outward. There are two commodious entrances on the north and south sides, perforating the transept, and three exits from the rear. Nothing better illustrates the enlightened common-sense of the architect. Should panic, for any cause, or catastrophe by fire, ever occur during the hours of service, not a life need be sacrificed for lack of sufficient and efficient egress. The spire, which caps the edifice on the southwest, rises to a height of 210 feet.
The auditorium of the church is not so satisfactory as its exterior. The fault is not in the architecture, which is graceful and harmonious. The decorator deserves whatever censure is bestowed. He appears to have aimed at two objects,—light and softness,—and to have missed both in the artistic sense. He designed to produce a vivid illumination of the interior by refraction of light, but not high colors; and to effect a mild atmosphere by subduing the geral tone. The result is a conspicuous lack of elegance in a style of decoration both ambitious and costly. Some relief is afforded by the deeper hues of the windows. The general effect, however, is not one which is just to the other merits of the structure, and Bishop Foley and Dr. McMullen will undoubtedly discover means to dispel the fault as son as the diocesan treasury will warrant the outlay. The figures in most of the windows are either hideous or ridiculous. The caricature of Christ, over the main altar, wrapped, with a patriotism which disdains to take note of time, in the star-spangled banner, is so ingeniously destable in shape and so odious, and abominable in color as to suggest a description which might savor to the pions of blasphemy. Common clay has rights at artists’ hands, which no saint in the calendar is permitted to share. No man suffers himself to be caricatured in public if he can help it; but God and His angles have no defenders. There is scarcely a figure on a church window in Chicago, scarcely a statue in a religious niche, which is not calculated to make the ungodly smile. In most instances the models for the heads appear to have been borrowed from the asylums for imbeciles and the limbs are copied from those inn the show-cases of cork-leg manufactories, while the expressions remind the observer, not of the ecstacy of heaven, but of the guillotine or the barn-yard.
It is to be lamented, too, that the altar should be deprived of the background which is essential to the proper relief of its majestic lines. It is placed too far back in the curve of the sanctuary, against a wall almost as light as itself, whereas it demands a strong contrast. The upper portion of the altar is almost entirely of white marble; the part that symbolizes the sepulcher is inlaid with dark marbles, which add to its dignity and chasteness. The workmanship of the whole is admirable, and the altar is a noble contribution to the church. But its grandeur is lost in its remoteness, and its strength is dissipated by the weak tone of the background. The altar railing is rather light for the generous dimensions of the sanctuary; and the confessionals, instead of enhancing the interior, rather detract from it by their rigid and funereal plainness. The temporary pulpit upon which Bishop Bryan delivered yesterday a magnificent contribution to the eloquence of the church,—a discourse worthy of Bossnet, is to be exchanged for one in harmony with the place. It is to be hoped that it will not be modeled after the confessionals, or there will be as much danger of its being mistaken for the “box” as they for biers. A spacious gallery extends athwart the front of the church. In it are placed the choir and an 8-foot organ, temporarily secured.
History of Chicago by A. T. Andreas, 1886
CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY NAME.
The foundation-stone of this church, on the corner of State and Superior streets, was laid on Sunday, July 19, 1874, Rev. Father Damen preaching the sermon. The edifice was completed in 1875, and was opened with great pomp on Sunday, November 1, by Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan, of St. Louis. The cathedral is cruciform in shape, built in the Gothic style of architecture, of solid stone masonry, the exterior being rock-faced, and cost, including the grounds, $250,000.
The main entrances, of which there are three, are on State Street, the central one having a vestibule twelve feet in width. There are also two side entrances, at the transepts, and three broad entrances in the rear of the church. The spire, supported upon a massive tower, is the highest in the city, being two hundred and ten feet to the summit of the cross. Two rows of columns, extending the entire length of the church, support a Gothic groined-roof. The roof is paneled and tinted with a soft gray, relieved by heavy bands of gold; each of the panels is outlined with gold, and all terminate at their angles with bas-relief medallions. The chancel and transept arches are richly ornamented in the same general style. The chancel is lighted by five stained-glass windows, of which the central bears the figure of Christ. Two oriel windows and seven small Gothic windows light the transept, and a magnificent oriel window illuminates the nave from its western extremity. At this end also stands the organ. The striking feature of the interior is the grand altar. This is constructed of various descriptions of rare marble; the body of Italian, the pillars of Tennessee, the white finish of altar-panels of Vermont, and the cross of the center panel of Irish green-and-black and African yellow marbles. The tabernacle is of pure white marble, inclosed and mounted with solid gold, and the whole piece is crowned by richly-carved pinnacles, in the center of which is a niche containing a massive crucifix. On the north side of the chancel is the Archbishop’s throne, which is of the most elaborate and costly description. There are two other altars, on the north and south sides of the transept respectively, one to St. Joseph and the other to the B. V. Mary, both of which are of exquisite beauty.
The Cathedral of the Holy Name was constructed under the supervision of Rt. Rev. Thomas Foley, administrator of the Diocese of Chicago. Adjacent to the cathedral is the clergy-house, built in a style uniform with that of the church, at a cost of $75,000. It was completed in 1881, and is the home of the vicar and his assistants, of whom there are six at the present time. Since the fire the cathedral clergy have been Rev. John McMuIlen, D.D., from 1871 to 1881 (afterward bishop of Davenport), and Rev. Patrick J. Conway, the present incumbent and vicar-general of the Diocese.
Construction start: 1874
Construction finish: 1875
Designed by: Patrick Charles Keely
Renovated: Early 1900’s
Renovated: 1968-1969 by C.F. Murphy
Holy Name Cathedral II
Holy Name Cathedral II
Chicago Tribune, May 25, 1969
Holy Name cathedral, which is being extensively remodeled, probably will be reopened at Christmas time, John Cardinal Cody, Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago, said last week.1
He made his prediction while visiting the 94-year-old cathedral to see its new main altar and three rose windows which were installed recently. Holy Name was closed so repairs and other work could be undertaken in April, 1968.
Since then, the building has been virtually dismantled, a basement area constructed for air conditioning and other equipment, and a new floor has been built. The cathedral is now filled with scaffolding needed for work on its walls and windows.
The remodeling is expected to cost 2½ million dollars not including certain charges for labor which cannot yet be determined, the Rev. Timothy Lyne, administrator of the cathedral, said.
Granite for the new altar was brought from Argentina. Its top is 13 feet long by six and a half feet wide and weighs 11,000 pounds. With its granite pedestal and the cast bronze base, the altar weighs eight tons. The granite is red with veins of black.
Italian artists designed the altar and the new stained glass windows, called rose windows because they are circular in shape. One has been installed over the cathedral’s west entrance, another one over the south doors, and the third over the north doorway.
The painted glass windows they replace crumbled when they were removed last year to make it possible for renovation to begin. Other windows to be installed will be similar in style and coloring.
When the remodeling is complete, the cathedral will have a Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and a bapistery chapel which, in addition to baptisms, will be used for weddings and other ceremonies involving small groups of people.
Holy Name Cathedral II
Robinson Fire Map 1886
Volume 3, Plate 10
Holy Name Cathedral II
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
1 The Cathedral held its first mass after the remodeling on December 24, 1969. 1,500 people attended.
The first church in the current site, on the northeast corner of State and Superior streets, began with a small building erected in the early 1850s. With the increasing number of Catholics in the North Division, the Catholic Church hierarchy authorized a much larger building that would be the cathedral of the Chicago Diocese.