Open House Chicago Grants a Rare Peek and a Solemn Reminder

Agudas Achim SynagogueThis was the weekend of The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s second annual Open House Chicago, a free invitation to peek inside a number of buildings across the city that aren’t usually open to the public.

Despite a busy weekend and lousy weather, I managed to pop in to a few locations yesterday and today. None was as impressive and affecting as the Agudas Achim Synagogue in Uptown. Built in 1922, the synagogue hasn’t been in use since the late 1980s and was closed in 2008, so the CAF open house was a rare opportunity indeed.

The building is impressive and eerie. In its current crumbling state, it serves as a sobering reminder of what happens when an architectural gem languishes, awaiting restoration. Open House Chicago is a wonderful way to raise awareness to historic preservation, while giving the public a glimpse inside buildings we’ve passed by for years, thinking to ourselves, “I wonder what it looks like inside.”

Agudas Achim Synagogue
The exterior of Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation synagogue.
Agudas Achim Synagogue
Beauty amid crumbling plaster and missing ceiling tiles.

Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim Synagogue
Evidence that pigeons have taken up residence in the disused building.
Agudas Achim Synagogue
A pigeon warms up by the lights illuminating the ceiling.

Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim Synagogue

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2 Responses

  1. Sinda Rosenberg

    This is awesome..so sad..A few years back I was on the south side and visited a temple that was from the late 1890’s and was still being used..It was the oldest continuing temple in Chicago which some of my family members use to belong to when they lived in South Shore…What was interesting is the members were Black Jews..

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