St. Stephen's Church, Chicago Illinois.

The impressive front of the church, it's hard to see the dome's full extent from the street, but the columns and arched entrance are pretty cool.

Apparently the dome of the church (near center) is visible from space.

Around back, ivy and other climbing plants have taken over.

Inside on the upper floor are a number of bedrooms and a common area, as well as a hatch down to an interfloor crawlspace (it looked pretty unstable, so I stayed out of that part). Near the entrance to the stage/pulpit were the remains of the organ control panel.

From the pulpit the view of the main hall and dome is impressive. The pews are gone and the floor is drilled full of holes, I felt kind of nervous walking across it, but it seems to have held this long.

Some of the upper-floor areas (there was a main 2nd floor with one open room and a ladder area up to the roofs, and some other attics in various nooks and crannies around the front of the church.

Artsy shots. The last is a scattering of poker chips and condoms that hints at sin in the church's recent past :-)

The first floor has a main entrance hall (with a porta-potty and some leftover construction stuff), a large back hall or meeting room, a kitchen, some public restrooms, and a large apartment (the preacher's residence?) filled with a lot of decaying artifacts.

Trekkie grafitti?

I don't know what the hell this is, it was under the center of the main hall above.

Some of the artifacts in the Preacher's apartment, sewing equipment, rotten furniture and broken plates and glasses, old and newer phones, books, and a rolodex that still holds the names and addresses of nearby churches.

The basement is flooded above boot level, I should have brought hipwaders or been willing to fly back to Alaska with wet feet.

The gutted organ, there are some chambers up inside that can be climbed into via narrow, wobbly ladders. I left a note on a piece of paper stuck way up in the top of this thing.

The roof areas, there are several levels around the top and the dome itself in the center.

The inside of the dome. The bottom is the decorated interior, and the outer layer is the brick exterior of the dome.

At the center of the dome are some holes down to the main hall, and a cool-looking cylindrical two-level skylight/vent, with a frightening overhanging ladder out over the central glass circle up to the top skylight. I have no idea what this ladder is for, but I'd hate to be the one to use it without a safety line keeping me from crashing through the skylight if I slipped. Just climbing up the ladder and walking on the catwalks in this part (all suspended on wires from the top dome) was a huge adrenalin rush.

Back to Chicago Exploration
Back to Out-of State
Back to Main