Originated in 1853, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church was Chicago’s first Swedish Lutheran congregation and it occupied a frame building on Superior Street between Wells and LaSalle. A second structure, built in 1868 at Sedgwick and Hobbie, burned in the Chicago Fire but was reconstructed a year later.
In 1918, Immanuel followed its Swedish mission to the new Edgewater community and merged with Lutheran Church on Glenwood and Rosedale. Two lots (former Kransz land which had been subdivided) were purchased for a new building in 1920. Construction totaled about $110,000.
The altar area, now a stage, is the only evidence of the church’s former sanctuary. The original wood paneled altar rail currently adorns the present sanctuary’s rear balcony.
Immanuel’s East wing, containing the present sanctuary, was designed by Adolph Hanson and Einor Olson. It was added in 1952 at a cost of $500,000. Its wealth of artistic symbolism includes a 32 foot granite cross at the altar, individually painted designs on the sides of each pew and carved figures of Pope John XXIII, Nathan Soderblom, St. Birgitta and Swedish King Erik IX along the west wall. The Schantz pipe organ was constructed in 1977. Its 2,633 pipes frame a carved, rose shaped window at the center of the balcony, with heavenly musical figures in its stained glass.
Stained glass windows under the balcony depict milestones in Immanuel’s history, as do those in the adjoining Lanquist Memorial Chapel. This was donated by Mrs. J.L. Forch, daughter of architect Andrew Lanquist (designer of the Wrigley Building and Wrigley Field).
Immanuel’s exterior displays a modified Gothic style of red brick with Indiana limestone trim. Three large bells on the front lawn are remnants of the structure which burned in the Chicago fire.