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First Presbyterian Church
Franklin Park has always had a strong religious community. The first church building erected in Franklin Park was in 1872, when Mr. R. S. Rhodes built a building for the First Presbyterian Church of River Park (what Franklin Park was known as in those days). The church was organized in the same year. Originally this church had 15 members, and Rev. J. B. McClure was the first pastor. The building was a frame Gothic structure which was 26 ft. X 52 ft. in size and which at the time cost (completely furnished), $6,000 to build.
First United Methodist Church of Franklin Park (formerly known as the Methodist Episcopal Church)
On April 3, 1892 a small group of people who believed a community without a church was not a desirable place to live met at the Franklin Park Pavilion. Thus began the congregation we know today as the First United Methodist Church of Franklin Park. A small frame building was erected and dedicated in August of 1897. A brick building was built next to it in 1913, on the southeast corner of Calwagner and Gage. April 1954 saw the groundbreaking for the first unit of the successive building, followed by the consecration of the sanctuary in 1963. (See more images of this building, which was demolished in 2004.) More historical information about the First United Methodist Church of Franklin Park can be found at our Methodist Episcopal Church page.
Below is a photograph taken in 1892 of The First Ladies Aid of the Franklin Park Methodist Church. Many of these women were involved in various community organizations and activities. Some of them were instrumental in organizing the Ladies Literary and Social Club (Franklin Park Woman’s Club). Some were married to Village Presidents who served Franklin Park. Still others were married to some of the founding fathers of Franklin Park, influential people who helped shape the community we call Franklin Park, Illinois.
St. Gertrude’s Parish
In the spring of 1901, Father P. J. Scanlan was sent to Franklin Park to establish St. Gertrude’s Parish. The first mass was offered in a storefront at the corner of Franklin and Calwagner Avenues. The first church property was located at the corner of Franklin and Ruby Streets in 1901. In 1914, a new site was acquired, and a church and school were erected. In 1949, a huge building plan was formulated, and, in 1950, the rectory and a new convent were erected. The need for more space for worship and the need to convert the church in the school for classrooms led to construction of an upper and lower church (to see more images of St. Gertrude's go to our Flickr page).
Deutsche Evangelische St. Paul’s Gemeinde von Mannheim (St. Paul’s German Evangelical Church of Mannheim)
In February, 1903, a group of people (mostly farmers of German descent) assembled together to unite as Deutsche Evangelische St. Paul’s Gemeinde von Mannheim (St. Paul’s German Evangelical Church of Mannheim). Henry Kirchhoff donated property for a church building, and by October 1903 a frame building stood at the corner of Franklin Ave. and Mannheim Road. By 1938, the Illinois Highway Commission notified St. Paul’s that part of their property was being condemned to build an overpass over the Milwaukee Railroad. On April 27, 1940, a brush fire swept onto the church property and the frame church building was severely damaged. A new church building was erected at the intersection of King St. and Calwagner Ave. and was dedicated on May 25, 1941 (to see more images of St. Paul's go to our Flickr page).
Resurrection Lutheran Church
Resurrection Lutheran Church arose because there were no Christian churches in the "Westbrook" area. Sigurd Engmann and Richard Wimmermark spoke to Dr. Fred Otterbein of North Austin Lutheran Church, and, as a result, Sunday School started in Nov. 1943 in the basement of the Wimmermark home. Sunday services began on Jan. 23, 1944. On November 4, 1945, ground was broken for the original sanctuary, and in 1950 the steeple was added to the church. A Conference Room, Music Room, Christian Education Office, Assistant Pastor’s Office and Upper Office Room (counting room) were added in 1954. Ground was broken for the present sanctuary in 1961, and the building was dedicated in 1962 (to see more images of Resurrection Lutheran Church go to our Flickr page).
Mannheim Baptist Church
Mannheim Baptist Church was started as a faith venture of the Judson Baptist Church (Oak Park, IL). The church is located just west of the school located at Grand and Mannheim. On May 2, 1950 the church was incorporated under the name of Mannheim Baptist Church. The original was a wood frame building facing north. In 1953, the church was lifted up, turned to face east/west and a basement was added. In 1955, a building was added (affectionately called the Steel Building). In 1958, ground was broken for the new Sanctuary/Fellowship Hall. On October 4, 1959 dedication of the new Church was held.
Franklin Park Bible Church
The Franklin Park Bible Church originated in the fall of 1937 when students from the Moody Bible Institute came to Schiller Park and began young people’s work in the area. After about two years, they rented space at Leyden Masonic Temple (in Franklin Park) and began holding regular services there. Cornerstone-laying services were held for the Church on Jan. 22, 1950. Completion of the building was expected by late spring of 1950. The church was located at the northwest corner of Gustav and Chestnut Sts. Because of declining membership, the church voted on July 12, 1990 to dissolve. Today it houses the Philadelphia Evangelical Free Church.
Mount Calvary Lutheran Church
Mount Calvary Lutheran Church was founded on Aug. 9, 1950, by a group of Lutherans living in Franklin Park, under the guidance of Rev. A.H. Semmann (Mission counselor of the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod). Services were held in the band room of East Leyden High School. In October of 1952, the property where the church is now located was purchased (3222 Rose St.). Ground breaking for the new church began on April 5, 1959 and August 30, 1959 the cornerstone was laid.
Presbyterian Good Shepherd Church
In the fall of 1953, Rev. Henry Churchill began a survey of interest for the Presbytery of Chicago. Interested families met with Dr. Harvey Hood in early February. Services for the Presbyterian Good Shepherd Church were first held at the Leyden Community House located at Scott and Dickens. In November of 1954, the congregation secured a building at 10200 Fullerton. Due to a dwindling congregation, the church was dissolved, and Leyden Laurel Lodge is now located in this building.