St. Agatha Catholic Church

Project Name
St. Agatha Catholic Church

Douglas Blvd and Kedzie Ave
Chicago, Illinois

Project Status
Church torn down; a new church was built in 1982. All Mallin decorations are gone.

Project Date/s
1939 and 1942

St Agatha Catholic church was founded in 1893 on the west side of Chicago to serve Irish families who had moved into the Lawndale area near Douglas Park.  Land was purchased at the corner of Douglas Blvd and Kedzie Ave. to build a one story church.  Mass was first celebrated there in December, 1893.  As the congregation grew, five lots were purchased and ground was broken for a new church in October, 1903.  The church was designed by the architectural firm of Prindiville and Egan in a Romanesque and Byzantine style on the southeast corner of Douglas Blvd and Kedzie Ave.  The church was dedicated on May 27, 1906.

St. Agatha Exterior

About 500 families belonged to the church in 1906.   In 1904 Sears Roebuck and Co built a large complex near the church which served as a place of employment for residents in the area. The parish expanded in the 1920s and 1930s, with the convent being enlarged and the school renovated.  In the 1930s, Russian Jews constituted half the population of North Lawndale, and a number of synagogues were established on Douglas Blvd near St Agatha.

In 1934 Rev. John B. Sprengel was appointed pastor of St. Agatha, where he remained for 21 years.  Rev. Sprengel hired John Mallin to decorate the church in 1939 and again in 1942 according to Mallin’s bank records.   The decorations were done in the Italian Renaissance style and used gold leaf, according to Mallin’s brochures.

The neighborhood changed over the years and became predominantly African American.  In the early 1970s the sanctuary of the church was remodeled.   The church built in 1906 was torn down as it could no longer be maintained.  A new church was built in 1982.  The church still has a very active parish.


A History of the Parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago Volume 1. Msgr. Harry C. Koenig, S.T.D., editor. The Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago, 1980.

Lane G, and Kezys A.  Chicago Churches and Synagogues.  Loyola University Press. Chicago, 1981.

Chapel Brochure
Chapel Brochure
Chapel Brochure