The Summerdale Congregational Church developed from a Sunday school organized to meet in the Summerdale railway station at Berwyn and the Chicago Northwestern tracks in May of 1889. This was a short time before the town of Lakeview became a part of Chicago.
Later, the school moved to a factory building nearby where crates and planks furnished the seats. The Ravenswood Church donated old pews, a small organ and a number of hymn books.
After moving from a home on Lincoln Street, the church group took shelter in a storefront on Ravenswood at Farragut called the Wager Hall.
In 1890, under the leadership of Rev. Zwingle H. Smith, the Summerdale Congregational Church was organized. In 1891, because of the generous aid of Mr. R.J. Bennett, a lot at the corner of Farragut and Paulina was purchased. Soon afterwards, part of this lot was sold off to cover church debts.
With no funds in sight for the construction of a church, a resident mechanic, David Evans, offered his labor to Rev. Edgar B. Wylie, pastor, to begin building the church. With subscriptions of $1,427 and a matching gift from Mr. Bennett, the new building was begun with excavations on October 21, 1893. While Mr. Bennett supplied the plans and supervised construction, Mr. Wylie marshaled the labor for the project.
The basement of the church was completed in September, 1894 - 100 years ago - and here the church carried on for six years. In 1899, after another subscription drive netted $1,500, the building of the upper church began anew. The costs exceeded the initial funds raised and additional support from Dr. E.P. Goodwin and Dr. F.A. Noble brought together enough to complete the structure by September 16, 1900. Shortly after its completion, Rev. Wylie succumbed to pneumonia.
Succeeding ministers continued the programs and activities of the church and attracted many participants who were not members. Throughout its history, the membership has hovered between 100-200.
In 1931, the Argyle Community Churches joined the Summerdale Congregational Church to become the Summerdale Community Church. By 1940, at the time of the 50th anniversary, the membership numbered 192. At this time work was done on the church building, including the addition of the oak wood cabinetry in the sanctuary.
The church design is a simple open space with bead board wainscoting and oak choir loft. The ceiling is beamed with bead board finish. A most remarkable thing about the church is the beautiful stained glass in warm earth tones with blue accents. The artist is unknown.
In 1973, the original church steeple was struck by lightning, and what you see today is a modification. Because the steeple was designed as a separate structure, the ensuing fire did not damage the church. In another freak accident, the circular window on the façade was blown out in a windstorm on January 10, 1975. The Summerdale Community Church has held its doors open to other church groups over the years. Most recently, the Fil-Am United Church of Christ has joined in this process. It is this open door that gives validity to the name “The Summerdale Community Church.”