Monday, January 16, 2012

Shepherd's Temple

Here's a link to Lee Bay's website and a post about a magnificent Chicago building that more than likely will soon be demolished. Douglas Boulevard on the West Side is filled with a collection of former synagogs, a testimony to the neighborhood's Jewish legacy. The former temple, Anshe Kenesseth Israel, is perhaps the most stunning of all. AKI, like the majority of temples in the neighborhood was converted to a Christian Church when the population of the neighborhood changed from predominantly Jewish to predominantly African American. Martin Luther King visited the church when he briefly moved into an apartment on the West Side to protest housing inequality in Chicago. This particular building went through different hands over the years and unfortunately the last congregation who knew the building as Shepherd's Temple Baptist Church, couldn't make the bills and shuttered the church several years ago.

Shepherd's Temple is in decrepit shape and the city has issued an emergency demolition order for safety reasons. There are on-going eleventh hour attempts to save the building but at this time it appears unlikey that yet another link to this city's illustrious past will be saved from the wrecker's ball.

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