The Church of the Atonement has been an important part of the Edgewater community since 1888, when the parish was formed. This is an Episcopalian church. The first services were held in the Guild Hall at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Winthrop Avenues.
In 1889, the original church was built in the Norman-Gothic style on land donated by J.L. Cochran, the developer of Edgewater. The stone is Darlington stone. The architects were William Prettyman and Henry Ives Cobb. Mr. Prettyman designed and executed the murals in the chancel and sidewalls of the church.
The church continued to grow, not only in the size of the congregation, but also structurally. The original architects had provided for an addition to the building. In 1910, the first addition was made. J.E.O. Pridmore, a community resident, was the architect for this addition. He lived from 1864-1940 and was active in the church. He worked as an architect in Chicago for 50 years and was a member of the AIA. Pridmore came to Chicago from England, where he was born and educated. He specialized in church and theater architecture. There are many examples of his work in Edgewater, including the Manor House on Bryn Mawr and the Stickney School.
In 1919, Pridmore designed the most significant changes to the church building. In order to expand the building, the roof was raised 18 feet and the narthex added to the front of the church. This allowed for a larger entranceway. In the process of this change, the original bell tower was removed. The bells are still installed but, instead of being in a tower, they are on the roof of a section of the building. In 1923, J.E.O. Pridmore designed the current parish house as a replacement for the original, which was built much earlier. The style is English Tudor, which must have been quite familiar to Mr. Pridmore.
The church also has a special chapel which was designed in 1912 by Wake and Dean of London. The wood is English cathedral oak and the altar is Italian marble with mosaics by Simpson and Sons of London. Throughout the interior of the church, care has been taken to create a sense of awe and beauty.
In 1970, the church received an Elizabethan room from the Spencer family of Sharon Connecticut. The room was originally in the Cumberland House in England and was shipped to the Weatherstone House in Sharon in the 1690s. When the Weatherstone was remodeled, this room was removed and sent in pieces to the church to be reinstalled in the parish house. The estate in Sharon was once the home of Cotton Mather Smith. This historical room provides a beautiful setting for small receptions and meetings.
Through the years, the Church of the Atonement has maintained its presence in Edgewater and continues to contribute to the well being of all community members. The Edgewater Historical Society thanks the Church of the Atonement for their generous support of our home tour this spring.