Sunday, October 09, 2005

First Universalist Church Elgin, Illinois

Took some pictures last weekend of the old First Universalist Church in Elgin. It no longer houses a Congregation and my understanding was the Congregation lost the building in the 1970s when they could no longer afford insurance for it. The Church had become deeply involved in anti-Vietnam war protests and had had some fires started on the property in response to thier actions.

Right now the city of Elgin posts the property as condemed and I have no idea what th plan is. I'd like to get inside and see it because the interior is shaped like a watch. The old Elgin Watch company factory was just a few blocks way from the Church.



Restored row houses just next to the Church which are for sale pictured below. The streets must have been raised at some point because the yards are below street level.


A few from in front of the Church down towards the Fox River showing new row houses being constructed. The casino is just to the left in this picture and the Elgin Watch factory stood just a bit further to the left. I believe this site used to be auto dealers row in Elgin.


Finally here is the Elgin Turners Hall. At one time long ago a Catholic School for Girls. B39 Olds and I go here for the Friday Fish Fry.

7 comments:

The Elginite said...

Great pictures of the old church. It would be great if somebody or some group finds another use for it, like a comedy club, a small theatre, etc. It is an important local landmark, being shaped as a clock, etc.

Cedar said...

I attended a few services in the old Unitarian church back on the cough seventies.

I wish I had paid more attention to it, although I did know its history at the time.

I second the elginite's wish that someone make it into something useful.

prufrock said...

It is an amazing building. I was down for a wedding and stayed nearby. I spent a blissful, but hungover, Sunday driving around Elgin, gawking in wonder. It seems as though the city was Reaganized at some point... But it still has the quintessential charms of a river city. The church seems like an example of English Arts & Crafts... wouldn't be surprised to see Wm Morris fabric on a wall in there... though I bet it's pretty decrepit in reality.

Nice rehab of the Arts & Crafts building nearby, too!! Wow!! Copper gutters, et al...

I hope Elgin can retain that wonderful charm!

John of Toledo said...

I am amazed as I see these pictures for the first time. This must be the Universalist Church my Grandparents attended and probably were married in. My Grandmother, Nettie Potter, was born in 1893 into the church. Her Father, Leon Hosmer Potter, ran the very first inter-urban trolley from Elgin to Chicago. My Grandmother married Claude Lightner, and they moved to Toldeo OH and joined the Untarian Church there.

Bill Baar said...

A Church has bought it John...I'll try and link to them...hopefully they'll retain the look and feel of the place.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Elgin Turners was a Catholic School for Boys (St. Mary's), the bathrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor are still original with multiple in floor urinals.

Bill Baar said...

Interesting... I thought it had been a girls school.