Chicago Life and Style.

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Month: October, 2010

St. Boniface Update

I wrote about this beautiful church in a previous post.  Its been languishing for years and finally there is movement to save at least part of the building facade.  Below is a great article from the East Village Association talking about the plans for the church.

Posted by Stephen Rynkiewicz on 10/25/2010

St. Boniface Church is on its way to becoming a 75-bed senior housing facility. The Oak Brook-based IPM Amicus development firm closed Oct. 20 on the building at 1358 W. Chestnut St.

The $20 million project will “save as much of the facade (towers) as possible,” according to the IPM website. The firm’s portfolio includes the Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center near Northbrook and Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies at 618 S. Michigan Ave., plus campus projects at the University of Chicago, Catholic Theological Union, Moody Bible Institute, Meadville-Lombard Theological School and East-West University.

Plans for St. Boniface by Vasilko Architects & Associates show a five-story west building behind the original towers, plus an east addition rising to eight stories. IPM expects to complete the facility by the end of 2013.

The Eckhart Park Community Council has called a “next steps” meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Northwestern Settlement House, 1012 N. Noble St. “One issue on the table,” said EPCC webmaster Dominy Edwards, “is the possible reuse of the school facade that was dismantled and put in storage, reportedly at a cemetery, in 2003 when the Archdiocese of Chicago demolished the school and convent that stood to the east of the church.”

In any event, the Eckhart Park group has a line to the developers. IPM told the group it is “committed to working with the community and preservationists,” according to the Eckhart Park website.

Ken McHugh, IPM chief executive, said the church has sustained considerable damage in two years, according to the preservationist site On Friday, a development teem found flooring and roof damage. The building must be secured after signs of basement break-in.

“Fortunately the exterior, while suffering the passage of time, gave us encouragement that our mission of incorporating the front and west facade into the new senior housing structure remains feasible.” McHugh said.

IPM bought the church and is leasing the land from the archdiocese in a land swap with the city that expands St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception school to the former Byrd Elementary site at 363 W Hill St.

Halloween in Chicago

I love Halloween!  Not only is it fun,  I love, love, love the fact that I have an excuse to buy 10lb bags of candy without shame!  My daughter and I are not big traditionalists when it comes to costumes (or anything for that matter!).  Her first Halloween she wore a black dress with skull and crossbones that her aunt and uncle bought her.  The next, she was a Harley Davidison motorcycle chic, complete with Harley sunglasses. Last year she was Tina Turner in a handmade gold lame dress and wild crazy hair (her own) with pretty awesome dance moves (also her own).

This year she decided she wanted to be a race car driver.  Why? No idea.  We were enjoying a Dove ice cream bar the other day and the stick asked “What would you do if you could not fail?” .  My three year old daughter said she would be a race car driver and so her costume was chosen.

Another thing I like about Halloween is the decorations.  Talk about getting wild and crazy! And you can make a lot of it yourself. Great to do if you are crafty and/or have kids.  I remember coming to visit my sister in Chicago when I was little and lived in Cleveland.  I thought it was the coolest place I’d ever been.  In the burbs you don’t really get to see most of the house decorations up close but here, the fences along the sidewalks are decorated and it’s one house after another of fun, unique decorations.  Some of my favorites are also some of the simplest (and easiest to store, making them small city space friendly).  And who knew you could make spiders elegant somehow!?

Awesome Spiders!

Elegant with a touch of Boo!

Mardi Gras Skulls!

Straight out of Hitchcock's "The Birds"

Now that my daughter is old enough to really understand and enjoy the festivities, I’m just struggling to figure out how we are going to fit it all in!  First, we start early next weekend at Lincoln Park Zoo, Spookfest from 11-2.  On the 30th we have three events to squeeze in–  Creatures of the Night at the Garfield Park Conservatory with animals, face painting, etc., a Halloween party at St. Mary’s from 2-6 and somehow, we want to squeeze in the Halloween parade around our neighborhood hosted by Commercial Park, from 2-3:15.

Brookfield zoo also has a spooktacular event that runs this weekend and next so you can get started really early! The Park District has a ton of events at local parks all over town.  Pumpkin patches, haunted houses, movies and haunted trail hikes.  Here is a full list of activities through the Park District.

To top it all off, this is the first year since I’ve had a kid that I am planning on having a grown up celebration after my daughter passes out from exhaustion and candy overload. No idea what I’m going to do or where I’m going but I couldn’t pass up an awesome costume I saw at Beatnix in Boystown (3400 N Halsted). They have the BEST outfits!!