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June 7, 2009

Experience some local city treasures

Chicago abounds with sites that demonstrate the area’s Catholic flavor. Here are just a few of the most popular.

The Cardinal’s Residence, 1555 N. State Parkway

With its many chimneys, carriage porch and coach house, the red brick residence at the edge of Lincoln Park is the oldest house in the landmark Astor Street District. Home to all Chicago’s archbishops since 1885, the three-story edifice was built by Archbishop Patrick Feehan on land purchased more than 40 years earlier by Bishop William Quarter.

Designed in the Queen Anne style by architects James Willet and Alfred Pashley, the first floor features a large foyer with an iron fireplace decorated with cherubs, a small chapel and a broad staircase with detailed carving.

Over the years, the home has welcomed an impressive list of guests: in 1905 Mother Frances Cabrini, later declared America’s first saint; in 1926, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII; in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt; in 1960, Cardinal Giovanni Montini, later Pope Paul VI; and in 1979, Pope John Paul II, who stayed for two nights.

Loyola University Museum of Art, 820 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 915-7600,

The Loyola University Museum of Art features the Martin D’Arcy Collection of medieval, renaissance and baroque art, along with other permanent collections and rotating exhibitions. The museum is open Tuesday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. the museum is closed Monday and major holidays. General admission is $6 and $5 for seniors. Children under 14, students, military dependents and Loyola employees are free. General admission is free on Tuesdays.

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, Navy Pier, Illinois Street and Lake Shore Drive, (312) 595-5024,

Admission is free and the museum is open during Navy Pier operating hours. Group tours and free guided tours are available. A glittering promenade that stretches along the lower level of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, this is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to stained glass windows, many from Catholic churches.

The collection of 150 windows dates as far back as the 1870s, when the city was being rebuilt after the Chicago Fire, and includes such widely known artists as Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge. Three windows from St. Agatha Church on Douglas Boulevard were designed by the famed F.X. Zettler Co. of Munich, Germany.