Openhouse Chicago (OHC) according to its website “is the city’s annual architecture festival. For one weekend in October you can explore Chicago’s most iconic and unique architectural treasures. From mansions to sacred spaces, theaters to private clubs, hotels to secret rooms—OHC gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at many of the city’s great spaces that are rarely, if ever, open to the public.”
This annual event is spearheaded by the Chicago Architecture Center and this year, it occurred on the weekend of October 19-20, 2019. On the first day of the two-day event, frequent photowalk buddy, Tom Polous of windycityphoto and I drove around Chicago’s west and southsides to visit the sites that were included in this year’s list.
By happenstance, we started to visit various churches that were within a few blocks of each other that I decided to make our #OHC2019 experience a “Visita Iglesia” of sorts. Visita Iglesia or Seven Churches Visitation is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday. This is seriously practiced in the Philippines.
Granted, not all churches we visited were of the Western Catholic tradition, but it was fun completing the task.
The first church we went to was the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Ukranian Village. This is an architecturally significant structure because it is one of the two churches (and the only existing one) designed by Louis Sullivan. It is the oldest Orthodox parish in Chicago, founded in 1892, and is the Cathedral for the Orthodox Church in America: Diocese of the Midwest. Holy Trinity was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and named a Chicago Landmark in 1979.
Since this was the first site we went into, the “Visita Iglesia” plan was still not in the making. That will come later after the third church we visited.
According to the Openhouse Chicago website, “The church retains features typical of Slavic provincial architecture, including an octagonal dome and a frontal bell tower. Sullivan’s design elements can be viewed from the exterior and interior. Recent restoration work includes Sullivan’s stained glass windows, the ornamental chandelier and interior dome.”