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Oct 24 / Neal

Galewood Community Church Centennial

Another amazing and informative issue of the Galewood Gazette has been published.  The Galewood Gazette is a free quarterly publication written and published by our neighbors right here in Galewood and Montclare.  The recent Fall 2012 issue is one of the best issues ever!  You can find past issues here at Galewood.net.  If you would like to be the first on your block to receive the newest issue subscribe to the Gazette by sending an email to galewoodgazette@att.net.Galewood Community Church Centennial.

Thank you to the Galewood Gazette and Tom Drebenstedt for permission to reproduce this article.  The Galewood Community Church is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this weekend.

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That picturesque white church at Narragansett and Bloomingdale was founded on a sparsely inhabited prairie along a high ridge. This
mini-continental divide, sixty feet above Lake Michigan, forms a watershed east to the Saint Lawrence River and west to the Mississippi. Far away from the city, a tiny hamlet grew around Mr. Gale’s homestead.

The Hathaway family lived at the southeast corner of Narragansett and Bloomingdale, just west of the main road running north to Dunning and south to the village of Ridgeland. The family sold water from their well to the other nine families living in Galewood. They attended church in Montclare, far enough away that the pastor encouraged the establishment of a Sunday School in their home. Within five years, on March 17, 1912, nineteen people organized Grace Congregational Church. In 1915 the group moved out of the
Hathaway home to a Montclare branch school at Mulligan and Bloomingdale.

1917 saw a reorganization under the name of Galewood Congregational, and a one room building was constructed at the northeast corner of Mulligan and Bloomingdale. It served fifty families and added to the hamlet building collection of one schoolhouse, two saloons, and a handful of houses. Donations of a stove, foot scraper, outhouse, and coal shed made it very comfortable. This is the time of the War to End All Wars, World War One.

In 1921 the last Gale family member left Mulligan Avenue and the Galewood Golf Club decided to move farther west. The temporary wood church was raised on top of a permanent foundation the following year and the Hathaway house was razed to build the very modern Lovett School. A bit of golf course land was purchased in 1928, and new church plans were finished in October 1929, just when the stock market crash occurred. Volunteers stepped up, including Boy Scouts, and construction began on the Fellowship Hall (located along the alley) on the property’s west edge. Finally dedicated in 1936, the hall remained separated from the wood church on Mulligan. The new chapel wouldn’t be built till the early 40s, dependent again upon volunteer labor. After World War Two, Galewood was growing, the wood church turned into a home, Sears was about to build a neighborhood store, and hopes were high. 1953 brought the cornerstone installation for the new wing, a community building, just south of the hall and chapel. Galewood Congregational now became Galewood Community Church.

The church is still going at 100 years, as Galewood Community Church United Church of Christ, more at www.galewoodcommunitychurch.org. Many thanks to “Pilgrims in Chicago” which was published on the 75th anniversary by the Church.

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