Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Everyday Sightseeing: Ravenswood Baptist Church
Over near Montrose and Damen, nestled in the middle of an unending series of upper-middle-class 19th-century mini-mansions (originally built for the first wave of German and Swedish immigrants in this neighborhood, who slowly over a century turned this from a lower-class to an upper-class area), is the charmingly bizarre Ravenswood Baptist Church. Built right at the end of the Victorian Era, it shares that period's fascination for "Oriental" touches -- it's hard to tell in these photos, but the building is basically an octagon fit inside another octagon and then twisted a bit, with double mini-octagons serving as its front and back foyers, already joyfully strange for this being essentially a Midwestern Protestant church, then doubly wonderful by it being built with those chalky red and brown bricks that were so favored in this neighborhood back then, and that Chicagoans usually associate in their mind with much more European, Christian-looking structures.
The specific street this is on is Sunnyside, two blocks north of and parallel to Montrose, which is my preferred street for bicycling between my home of Uptown and the neighborhood of Lincoln Square where I spend a lot of time. This street is just loaded with interesting things, so I'm sure I'll be posting more from here in this "Everyday Sightseeing" series before too long.