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Church bells rang out, a fire engine sounded its horns and about 40 parishioners stood in front of the church as the Rev.


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George Lane announced the historic church's reprieve from the wrecking ball. But Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host, and other donors, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed to fill the gap, Father Lane said. Nonetheless, money poured in from around the nation, said the Rev.

The Chicago Fire: America at Its Best

John Moorman, the pastor. The building was closed six years ago because of water damage to the roof and interior plaster. When Holy Family was completed in , it was the nation's third-largest church, with vaulted ceilings and unique carvings.

Chicago Fire of 1871

Its foot bell tower was Chicago's tallest structure. According to Lewis, Lincoln Park was originally a cemetery.


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It was bordered on one end by North Avenue, which at the time of the fire marked the northern boundary of the city. In , the city decided to move the cemetery directly outside the city limits. When the fire came in , the city was still in that process.

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Now, all that remains aside from an estimated 12, bodies still buried in unmarked graves from the original cemetery is one crypt, for a wealthy hotelier named Ira Couch, which survived the fire and marks the area as a former cemetery. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up. SmartNews History. History Archaeology.

The Great Chicago Fire of and Its Aftermath

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