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Historic Structures of

East Chicago, Indiana

Religious Structures

Despite its name, East Chicago (pop. 33,892) is not a part of Chicago; in fact, it is not even adjacent to Chicago. It is actually in Indiana, several miles southeast of Chicago, separated from Chicago and the Illinois-Indiana border by the city of Hammond.

A port city on Lake Michigan, East Chicago is the site of blast furnaces, rolling mills, and oil refineries. The construction of the Indiana Harbor ship Canal, as well as the steel mills, attracted dozens of industries in the early 20th century. Recently, its economy has had to diversify due to the closing or downsizing of several industrial plants.

Many foreign-born workers were attracted to the city during its industrial expansion, drawn by the multitude of low-skilled industrial jobs and the opportunity to build a better life. Workers from Western and Eastern Europe, Ireland, Germany, Greece and other countries flocked to the area. Later they were joined by an influx of Mexican workers.

This diversity resulted in a marvelous collection of ethnic churches, many exhibiting a Byzantine influence in their design. East Chicago is the home of several important historic religious and commercial structures, including the St. Nicholas Romanian Catholic Church (1913), one of the city's oldest religious structures.


We apologize for not having further details on some of these buildings. If you have more information on any of the structures on this page, please let us know. The email link is at left.

 East Chicago is truly a city of churches

East Chicago is truly a city of churches! Numerous steeples are visible as soon as you come into East Chicago on Columbus Dr. from Cline Ave. This is the Indiana Harbor district of East Chicago.


St. George Serbian Orthodox Church - East Chicago

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church (1912)

4013 Elm St.

Ethnic Revival

This building is in the Indiana Harbor district of East Chicago.

Eastern Orthodox Churches are the major Christian churches in Greece, Russia, eastern Europe, and western Asia. As a federation of churches, they are united by common beliefs and traditions. Individually, they are usually called by their national names, such as the Greek Orthodox Church or the Russian Orthodox Church. About 170 million people belong to the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The canon of the Greek Orthodox Church is the same as that of the Catholic Church, with five additional books. They are 1 and 2 Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees.


St. George Serbian Orthodox Church - East Chicago

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church (1912)

Front view

4013 Elm St.

Ethnic Revival

St. Stanislaus Church

Has a Polish mass every Sunday; they also run a large Catholic School on the property.


Church - Magoun St.

This quaint corner church displays a Russian cross. This cross has two unequal horizontals set on the vertical member above a small slanting bar. The top bar represents the title-board, Inscribed 'INRI,' which Pilate ordered to be hung in mockery over Christ's head on the Cross. 'INRI' in the Western tradition are the Latin initials for "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews". The middle bar is, of course, that on which Christ's hands were nailed, and he slanted bottom bar represents Christ's feet.


Iglesia Christiana Pentacostal Church

Iglesia Christiana Pentacostal

Corner of Baring and Chicago Streets

 Neoclassical Church - East Chicago

Iglesia de Dios Pentacostal M.I.,

(Formerly 1st Congregational Church of East Chicago)


145th & Magoun


According to Funk & Waglalls New Encyclopedia,

"When revolutionary movements established republics in France and America, the new governments adopted neoclassicism as the style for their official art, by virtue of its association with the democracy of ancient Greece."

Neoclassical is also the style for the nation's Capitol. Neoclassical architecture is characterized by monumentality, strict use of the orders, or arrangement of columns, and sparing use of ornamentation. Neoclassism was last the phase of European classicism in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

This handsome building projects a dignified presence.


Byzantine Church - East Chicago

St. Basil the Great Church

4316 Indianapolis Blvd.

Ethnic Revival

c. 1920

This building shows characteristics of the Byzantine style of architecture. The name comes from the Byzantine Empire, especially in the 5th and 6th centuries. This Eastern Roman empire brought us the distinctive architectural style that features a dome carried on pendentives over a square, incrustation with marble veneering, and colored mosaics (note the mosiac over the doorway).

Penadenatives are the arched brick members that support a dome over a square space, also seen above.


East Chicago Rectory Building

St. Mary's Parochial Elementary School

Interesting structure includes a newer addition, seen at the front of the building, that features a large sculpture.


East Chicago church - Vault style of architecture

St. Patrick's Church

Harbor section of East Chicago

This building is an example of the Vault style of architecture, which communicates massiveness, stability and enclosure (a commonly-used architectural style for banks). The effect is somewhat reminiscent of the fortified complexes of ancient times. In some examples of vault architecture, the character is inspired by Renaissance Italy or 18th-century France.

Generally two to three stories high, the vault has a facade penetrated by a large, tall and generally narrow central opening, and occasionally smaller ones on either side.


East Chicago church - Gothic Revival

Assumption Church

Corner of 140th & Elm

Gothic Revival, 1916

Celebrating 75th Anniversary in 1997

This building is in the Indiana Harbor district of East Chicago.

Gothic Revival was a popular 19th-century European and American movement promoting restoration of Gothic style in ecclesiastical and secular buildings. Notable examples are Sir Charles Barry's Houses of Parliament (1840-60) in London and James Renwick's Saint Patrick's Cathedral (1879) in New York City. Gothic Revival is characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting, an arched structure of masonry forming a ceiling or roof . This broad style of architecture stemmed from a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.

 East Chicago church - Renaissance Revival/Ethnic Heritage

Holy Ghost Greek Church

4009 Fir St.

Renaissance Revival/Ethnic Heritage

c. 1925

Here is a quaint neighborhood church nestled between houses on a quiet residential street. Notice how these Orthodox churches are similar in general style to one another, but quite different in details. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.

East Chicago Parish House


St. Stanislaus Church

800 144th St.

This sturdy brick four-square house serves as rectory of St. Stanislaus Church. Brick building in the Background is St. Stanislaus School. Behind the Rectory and not visible in the picture is the convent, where lived the many nuns who taught at the school.

 St. Mary's Catholic Church (steeple)

St. Mary's Catholic Church (steeple)

800 144th St.

According to a site visitor (whom we thank), a few years ago the original church caught fire but was rebuilt. This steeple now still sits atop the newly remodeled church. 

 The following pictures and info were kindly provided by Connie Lamka of the
Central Baptist Church:

Dedication Day was November 11, 1934, and in March of the following year, the church incorporated and reorganized the seventy four charter members, forming the Central Baptist Church of East Chicago, Indiana.

The church has a long, rich history of serving its East Chicago community with children's programs, door-to-door soulwinning, and a food pantry. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the spirited 11:00 a.m. worship service.

Photogrph taken February 11, 2007

Click here for a photo of the sanctuary and a full history of the church.

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