Granville Ave Presbyterian Church: History of Congregation

The Granville Avenue Presbyterian Church was organized on March 13, 1910, with 53 members–this according to the Chicago Tribune of October 6, 1955.  Since the church building was moved to its present location in 1903 (according to the same Tribune article), the congregation that worshiped in the years before 1910 must have been part of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church congregation.

Here is the story as told in the special Thirty-Fifth Anniversary bulletin of the church (April 1945:

"It was back in 1903, when Dr. Louis P. Cain [pastor of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church] and some of his Edgewater Presbyterian Young People purchased a small folding organ with which they put on street evangelistic services and tried to counteract the influence of the increasing liquor traffic. Granville was just a cabbage patch in those days.  Northwestern University, a strictly Methodist School then controlled and dominated all property for four miles around down to Devon Avenue, and by the force of its charter kept all that land ‘dry.’ The south side of the street was John Barley Corn’s front line, which Dr. Cain and his troopers decided to attact with a war of nerves.  So  on Sunday afternoons they would hold street meetings to evangelize the neighborhood, starting at Rosehill Cemetery working north on Clark Street until by 1904 they had sufficient followers to rent a store building near the southeast corner of Devon and Clark for a Sunday School."


"For the next five years [after the dedication of the church building] students from the seminary were employed in what was known then as the Presbyterian mission of North Edgewater.  Finally the church gained strength and on Thursday evening, March 31, 1910 it was organized into the Granville Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Dr. Louis B. Cain spoke on that occasion.

"By 1922 the church had grown to parenthood.  It gave a ‘start’ in a store to the North Town Presbyterian Church, which too roved around for a while. until finally settled down as the St. James United Church, 6554 N. Rockwell.  Then in 1924 a community house was added to our little frame building.  With it came a heavy obligation destined to go unpaid for twenty years.


"Then came April 15, 1942 when foreclosure was imminent and we realized that we had paid more in interest than the mortgage was worth.  A special congregational meeting was called, and thru the fine cooperation of the mortgage-holder, Mrs. Laura Jenks Thompson, who agreed to write off $5,000, the entire indebtedness was lifted by March 31, 1945–thirty five years to the day when the church was born!"