1858 View from the Chicago Court House Cupola - South/Southwest

At the outher end of the block from Mechanics' Hall, at the southeast corner of Washington and LaSalle streets, is the First Baptist Church. In Constructing Chicago, Daniel Bluestone notes that in the 1840s a number of Chicago churches—the First Presbyterian, the First Baptist, and the First Methodist Episcopal—were built on corner lots facing the Washington Street side of Court House Square, while the First Unitarian, First Universalist, and Second Presbyterian were erected nearby to the east. First Baptist stood on the southeast corner of Washington and LaSalle streets, just south of the square.

These clustered houses of worship made Washington Street Chicago’s “street of churches.” According to Bluestone, the congregations chose this location because it adjoined “the only distinctly civic block in the original plan of the city,” that is, Court House Square, which formed a buffer of sorts between the churches and the heavily commercial area extending south from the Main Branch of the Chicago River.
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