Sunday, May 31, 2015

Morse and Paulina (1905-1914)

1700-1712 W. Morse
The Morse Avenue project is to take a quick look at the the variety of buildings on the street and use illustrations to make some points about its architecture and development.  So I won't going into depth about this block, and how St. Jerome's Catholic Church eventually expanded to fill it entirely.  I won't be discussing the establishment of the Catholic parishes in Rogers Park, and how they managed to break the grid of the city to allow for development better suited to their needs.  Or their importance to early Rogers Park as major social institutions.

The convent building on the right is in the same location as the original (wood) St. Jerome's Church, which was built in the 1890s.  In 1914 the congregants hired architect Charles Prindeville to design the Italian Renaissance Revival Church to the north, which was completed in 1916.  It's likely that the convent was added around that same time, since the congregation still owned that parcel. The church was substantially lengthened in the 1930s, requiring an abandonment of the alley right-of-way and opening up the property for additional development.  A rectory with distinct Art Deco touches was built along Lunt in 1939, replacing the wooden St. Paul's by the Lake, which had been on the NW corner of the site since the 1890s.

Even with good fire insurance maps it's still difficult to tell exactly what was built when, and how the buildings changed as they grew together.  The center of the block filled up with additional school buildings in the 1940s and 50s, although it seems portions of older buildings remained to anchor the new development.  The school buildings along Morse were the temporary home of the Chicago Math and Sciences Charter School, but I don't know if they currently function as a school.

This block really deserves an in-depth treatment of its own, but that will have to wait for a future post.  Or series of posts. If any old-time Roger Parkers want to clarify what was built when please feel free to comment below.

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