Ravenswood Congregational Church Records

Dates: 1869-1969, undated
Size: 1.5 linear feet in 2 boxes and 43 photographs
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Sulzer Regional Library, Northside Neighborhood History Collection, 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
Collection Number: nnhc.rcc
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by various members of the congregation throughout the 1930s -1960s.
Conditions governing use: Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection
Conditions governing access: Materials are open without restrictions
Preferred citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Ravenswood Congregational Church Records, [Box #, Folder #], Northside Neighborhood History Collection, Chicago Public Library
Finding aid author: Processed in 1982 as part of a local history grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation; updated by Julie Lynch 2021

Abstract

The Ravenswood Congregational Church was founded in the fall of 1869 by the Reverend William A. Lloyd when Ravenswood was a small village. The church closed its doors due to declining membership in 1969. This collection contains news clippings, historical sketches, parish directories, and publications that document the church’s activities such as bulletins, programs, newsletters, correspondence. There are also 2 cookbooks published by the Woman’s Society.  The collection also contains 43 photographs which document the church building and some church activities.

Biographical/Historical

The Ravenswood Congregational Church was founded in the fall of 1869 by the Reverend William A. Lloyd. It was the first Protestant church in the new community of Ravenswood. In 1870 the church was granted a charter by the New England Congregational Union. Membership of the church was only eight people at the time.

In the early 1870s, a building was erected on the northeast corner of Sulzer Road and Commercial Street (now Montrose and Hermitage avenues). In 1885 the church was remodeled into a larger structure which included a parsonage. Additional construction changes took place in 1917 and again in 1923. The church then became known as "the church of the lighted cross," due to the revolving lighted cross atop the steeple, a unique feature not frequently found on church edifices during this period.

Ravenswood Congregational Church was founded on a strictly spiritual and devotional basis. But over the years, as the population grew and Ravenswood developed from a prairie to a village community, the church became socially active. The congregation began to play a leading role in many community developments and improvements through such groups as the Woman's Society, the Men's League and the Young People's Christian Endeavor.

Throughout its one-hundred-year existence, the church had only nine ministers, including Dr. J. Morriston Thomas, who served the community for forty-six years. During his pastorate, membership grew to over 600 parishioners. As the Northside of Chicago grew, however, many members moved away, and as a result the Ravenswood Congregational Church became directly or indirectly the mother of seven other neighborhood churches, including Addison Street Congregational, Summerdale Congregational, and Waveland Avenue Congregational churches. This pattern caused a continual decline in RCC membership throughout the 1960s. The Sixties were also a period of increasing costs and coupled with the loss of revenue through membership decline, the congregation voted to dissolve the church. This was done at a special meeting of the congregation on September 29, 1968.

On January 26, 1969, the Ravenswood Congregational Church closed its doors after a final commemoration ceremony.

Scope and contents

The Ravenswood Congregation Collection documents the church from its beginning in 1869 to its close in 1969. It contains news clippings, historical sketches, parish directories, and publications that document the church’s activities such as bulletins, programs, newsletters, correspondence. There are also 2 cookbooks published by the Woman’s Society.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in 2 series.

Series 1: Documents and publications, 1869-1969, undated

Series 2: Photographs, 1870-1935, undated

Related materials

Ravenswood Lake View Community Collection

Subject Headings

  • Ravenswood (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Church records and registers
  • Congregational churches

Collection inventory

Series 1: Documents and publications, 1869-1969, undated

Scope and contents

This series contains news clippings, historical sketches, parish directories, and publications that document the church’s activities such as bulletins, programs, newsletters, correspondence. There are also 2 cookbooks published by the Woman’s Society.

Arrangement

Alphabetically by topic, and then alphabetically within each topic.

Box 1 Folder 19 Announcement 1893
Box 2 Folder 14 The Benedicts (Young Married People), newsletter circa 1930
Box 1 Folder 1 Board of Trustees – minutes 1884, 1886, 1896, 1957
Box 1 Folder 2 Board of Trustees – programs, Trustees’ dinner 1917
Box 1 Folder 20 Bulletins – Just a Work 1886
Box 1 Folder 21 Bulletins – Lighted Cross 1921-1927
Box 1 Folder 22 Bulletins – Lighted Cross 1932-1947
Box 2 Folder 1 Bulletins – Weekly Bulletin of the Ravenswood Congregational Church 1904, 1905
Box 2 Folder 2 Calendar of events 1898
Box 1 Folder 3 Church Clerk – annual reports 1955-1956, 1967
Box 1 Folder 4 Church Clerk – certificates of dismission, Reverend Charles H. Keays 1890
Box 1 Folder 5 Church Clerk – certificates of dismission, Reverend Julian M. Sturtevant 1897
Box 1 Folder 6 Church Clerk – closing of church 1969
Box 1 Folder 7 Church Clerk – correspondence 1895
Box 1 Folder 8 Church Clerk – membership register 1870-1901
Box 1 Folder 9 Church Clerk – membership register 1920-1959
Box 1 Folder 10 Church Clerk – organizational chart undated
Box 1 Folder 11 Church Clerk – Pilgrim Church register: pastors, deacons, Board of Trustees and related committee listings; some membership listings 1957-1961
Box 2 Folder 3 Directories 1876-1918
Box 2 Folder 4 Directories 1929-1965
Box 2 Folder 28 Historical notes 1869-1969
Box 2 Folder 29 Historical sketches 1881, 1928, circa 1929, 1968, undated
Box 2 Folder 5 Invitations – meetings and services 1879-1950
Box 2 Folder 8 Lectures 1886, circa 1895, 1906
Box 2 Folder 15 Men’s League, banquet, program 1907
Box 1 Folder 12 Ministry – Reverend Charles H. Keays (1890-1897): booklet, in memoriam 1897
Box 1 Folder 13 Ministry – Reverend Charles H. Keays (1890-1897): correspondence 1890
Box 1 Folder 14 Ministry – Reverend Julian M. Sturtevant (1897-1903): correspondence 1897
Box 1 Folder 14 Ministry – Reverend Julian M. Sturtevant (1897-1903): correspondence 1898, 1902, 1920
Box 1 Folder 15 Ministry – Reverend J. Morriston Thomas (1913-1959): correspondence 1959
Box 1 Folder 16 Ministry – Reverend Joan Williams (1957): ordination 1956
Box 1 Folder 17 Ministry – Reverend Raymond W. Lord (1961-1967): letter of resignation 1967
Box 1 Folder 18 Ministry – Reverend Wilfred C. Hansen (1967-1969): correspondence 1968
Box 2 Folder 16 Morning Star Mission Board, annual report 1894
Box 2 Folder 9 Morning worship 1886-1948
Box 2 Folder 10 Morning worship, programs 1950-1969
Box 2 Folder 11 Musical performances 1877-1963 
Box 2 Folder 27 Newspaper clippings 1921-1969
Box 2 Folder 24 Pastoral Committee, announcements 1898
Box 2 Folder 25 Pastoral Committee, correspondence 1880, 1883, 1888, 1897
Box 2 Folder 26 Pastoral Committee, resolutions 1890, 1902, 1908
Box 2 Folder 6 Programs – anniversary 1880,1948
Box 2 Folder 7 Programs – dedicatory 1886, 1893, 1918
Box 2 Folder 12 Publications, "Selection of Quotes & Sayings compiled by the Congregation" circa 1900
Box 2 Folder 13 Statement of Belief, preface to 1967
Box 2 Folder 18 Sunday School, Children's Day, program 1898
Box 2 Folder 19 Sunday School, Field Day, ribbon 1891
Box 2 Folder 17 Sunday School, library catalog 1881, 1889
Box 2 Folder 20 Woman’s Society - cookbooks 1894, 1919
Box 2 Folder 21 Woman’s Society - yearbooks 1935-1936
Box 2 Folder 22 Young People’s Christian Association, constitution undated
Box 2 Folder 23 Young People’s Christian Endeavor, program undated

Series 2: Photographs, 1870-1935, undated

Scope and contents

This series consists of 43 photographs of the exterior and interior of the church as well as photographs of the Dramatic Club and other church clubs and committees.

Arrangement

Alphabetically by topic, and then alphabetically within each topic.

Photograph 1.15 Church, photo of painting of exterior view circa 1870
Photograph 1.17 Church, exterior view circa 1890s
Photograph 1.18 Church, exterior view circa 1893
Photograph 1.14 Church, exterior view 1895
Photograph 1.19 Church, exterior view 1910
Photograph 1.21 Church, exterior view after remodeling 1924
Photograph 1.16 Church, exterior view circa 1935
Photograph 1.22 Church, exterior view undated
Photograph 1.23 Church, exterior view, color photo undated
Photograph 1.33 Church, interior view undated
Photograph 1.26 Church, interior view, balcony, color photo undated
Photograph 1.28 Church, interior view, basement Thomas Hall, color photo undated
Photograph 1.27 Church, interior view, pulpit, color photo undated
Photograph 1.31 Church, interior view, pulpit and organ circa 1890s
Photograph 1.32 Church, interior view, pulpit and organ circa 1890s
Photograph 1.30 Church, interior view, pulpit and organ, decorated for Easter circa 1893
Photograph 1.29 Church, interior view, pulpit and organ, color photo undated
Photograph 1.34 Church, interior view, new organ circa 1893
Photograph 1.25 Church, interior view, church organ undated
Photograph 1.13 Dramatic Club, group photo of “Hunker’s Store” cast on stage 1905
Photograph 1.1 Dramatic Club, group photo on stage undated
Photograph 1.2 Dramatic Club, group photo on stage undated
Photograph 1.3 Dramatic Club, Mr. Wood in costume undated
Photograph 1.4 Dramatic Club, 3 members in costume undated
Photograph 1.5 Dramatic Club, group photo inside home of Mr. W.L. Wood undated
Photograph 1.6 Dramatic Club, Mr. C.R. Davidson on stage undated
Photograph 1.7 Dramatic Club, Mr. C.R. Davidson and Mr. W. L. Wood on stage undated
Photograph 1.8 Dramatic Club, group photo undated
Photograph 1.9 Dramatic Club, Mr. C.R. Davidson and Mr. W. L. Wood on stage undated
Photograph 1.10 Dramatic Club, Mr. C.R. Davidson and Mr. W. L. Wood on stage undated
Photograph 1.11 Dramatic Club, group photo on stage undated
Photograph 1.36 Ladies’ Aid Group, group photo 1905
Photograph 1.39 Lloyd, Reverend William, first pastor undated
Photograph 1.38 Men’s Club, group photo undated
Photograph 1.35 Sunday School, Boys’ Sunday school, group photo circa 1890s
Photograph 1.37 Sunday School, Boys’ Sunday School, group photo circa 1890s
Photograph 1.40 Sunday School, picnic on July 4th, group photo undated
Photograph 1.41 Picnic, group photo undated
Photograph 1.42 Group picture undated
Photograph 1.20 Tally Ho Party, Ravenswood residents on wagon 1893
Photograph 1.24 Tally Ho Party, group photo 1893
Photograph 1.12 Tally Ho Party, excursion to Milwaukee 1907
Photograph 1.43 Tally Ho Party, group photo in front of The National clothing store undated
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