Broadway's History 1891-1995
Broadway United Methodist Church, now located at 3338 North Broadway Street, Chicago, Illinois 60657, began its life of service on Sunday, July 12, 1891, and was known as Christ's Chapel. It was located in a vacant store at 1673 North Halsted Street. Reverend R.H. Dolliver was Pastor in Charge under the direction of the Chicago Home Missionary and Church Extension Society. As a result of personal visits by the pastor and handbills scattered in the neighborhood, 35 persons gathered for the morning service and 39 for the evening service. The collection for the day was $9.72. After the morning service, the Sabbath School was organized and grew.
On Monday, July 27, 1891, a committee made up of Charles Busby, Charles Lasher, Reverend Dolliver and A.D. Traveller, selected the church site on the corner of Evanston Avenue (now Broadway Street) and Buckingham Place. This site was purchased and the church building was started.
On August 2, 1891, 15 persons were received into the society by letter and on probation. By 1901, the membership was up to 175 persons.
Worship services were held in the basement until 1901 when the congregation decided to complete the building. It was dedicated in June of 1902 with Reverend R.E. Saunders as Pastor in Charge.
The Evanston Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church was designed by architect E. Hill Turnock. He also designed the Brewster Apartments at the corner of Diversey and Pine Grove Avenue, which is only a few blocks from the church. The Brewster is an official Chicago Landmark building. Turnock was also associated with Frank Lloyd Wright.
The church was built of blue Bedford stone with a red tile roof. The interior was finished in oak with a large truss ceiling. The sanctuary seated 450 persons. When the doors were opened in the new Sunday School room on the first floor, there would be accommodations for 800 people. The second story over the Sunday School room consisted of pastor's study, ladies parlor, dining room, kitchen and pantry, in addition to a primary classroom and lavatory. By completion of the church building in 1902, membership had grown to 275 with other community residents worshipping regularly also.
This church church ministered to this Northside community under the name "Evanston Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church" until 1914 when the name was changed to "Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church" in conjunction with the re-naming of the street. This name remained until 1963 when the change was made to "Broadway Methodist Church." In 1969 the denominations of Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren merged. The church was then called "Broadway United Methodist Church" and remains so today.
A senior citizens' group and day care for school-aged children was provided through the Broadway's Children Center for more than 15 years during the 60's and 70's. For several years the church provided space for a Christmas Day community dinner and served as a polling place for two precincts.
In the 1950's Broadway received some memorial money which was invested through the Board of Missions to purchase land for the St. Matthews Church building on Orleans Street in Chicago. The congregation matched the memorial money as they remodeled the fifty-year-old sanctuary altar area focused on the wooden cross which you now see in Friendship Hall as you enter the church.
In the 1960's the 618 building and property at 634 Buckingham were purchased. Money from our investments proved to be a real blessing in our future. What was 618 is now our parking lot.
From the early 1970's until 1984, membership declined, but the spirit of the existing congregation was high and positive. Inspired by the Revered Martin Cox and many members, money was pledged to replace the old electric organ with a pipe organ.
In February 1983, fire gutted the church and most of the beautiful stained-glass windows were lost. It was a heart-rending decision for a congregation of 45 dedicated members to undertake rebuilding. They concluded that this church had a mission on this corner, and "Lord willing," it could be done.
Revered Louise Mahan became our first female pastor in 1983, and we learned "the church is not a building; it is not a steeple; the church is people." For six years during construction, the people of Broadway Church worshiped at Christ Congregational Church, one half block west on Buckingham -- originally Temple Emmanuel. Later we met at the 618 Buckingham house for worship and meetings.
In rebuilding, three priorities had to be taken into consideration. 1) The building must be functional and energy efficient. 2) The love of music had lured many to donate money for the pipe organ and hopefully it could be restored and if possible, enhanced. 3) The building must be in accordance with City of Chicago Building Codes and handicapped accessible.
Richard Kalb, an architect familiar with many award-winning churches, designed the present church building with its artistic brick work. Stained glass, the wooden cross and other artifacts from the old church were brought into the new setting.
Many previous members who had moved away gave substantial sums of money in memory of the fellowship they had enjoyed at Broadway. Music lovers gave money they designated to repair and enhance the organ.
A miracle came to pass in 1990 and like a dream come true, we were able to celebrate two days of consecration and the 100th anniversary of our founding.
Subsequently, during the pastorate of Reverend Fred Morris, the basement was completed and the elevator and air conditioning were installed.
Revered Gregory Dell was appointed as pastor in July of 1995.
Broadway United Methodist Church is open to all people and embraces both church and community organizations. It stands as a symbol of faith and love, inviting everyone to experience the spirit of God in worship and the world.
Written by Ellenora Bose, March 1996
We seek to be the Church, energized by the Spirit, that embodies the Word, enhances our scope and embraces ALL people.
|© 2013 Broadway United Methodist Church||3338 N Broadway St | Chicago, IL | 60657 | 773-348-2679|