The neighborhood we now know as Lakeview was actually a Chicago suburb in the 1880s. The area was sparsely populated and the roads between Evanston and Chicago were uneven and unpredictable. In bad weather, it was nearly impossible for people to get to church in either city, so Lake View Presbyterian Church was created in 1884. Led by Dr. Thomas H. Skinner of McCormick Theological Seminary, parishioners spent a year meeting in the community’s Town Hall and then later in a tent on our current site before construction on the original church sanctuary began. Designed by Chicago architect John Wellborn Root, the sanctuary was completed in 1888 and cost $13,057.51. By 1898 the church had outgrown its original space and the sanctuary was expanded to its current size. In 1911 the Parish House was built to house a rapidly growing educational and fellowship program.
Inspiring words that describe the spirit of the church in its early days were included in a brochure at the church’s Golden Anniversary in 1934 and are remarkably still descriptive of Lake View today:
I am the patience, the courage, the sacrifice of a long past,
l am the energy, the faith, the loyalty of a glorious present.
I am the devotion, the hope, the dream of a limitless tomorrow.
I am Lake View Presbyterian Church.
Throughout many cycles of growth, Lake View has been responsive to the needs of the community. Teaching English to immigrant populations, providing sanctuary for Central American refugees, providing alternative education for at-risk youth, serving a hot lunch to neighborhood senior citizens are strong evidence of a church history that proclaims the gospel in actualized missions that serve both neighborhood and city.
As the church enters into a new cycle of growth and renewal, we seek again to respond to the emerging populations that surround our site. In the year 2000 a renovated sanctuary was completed, marking the beginning efforts at renovating the entire physical plant. What a glorious place to worship we now have! Our worship life is vital and uplifting. Our Christian Education program is strong and extensive. Our commitment to witness at this corner is as compelling as it ever has been.
In 2004, following several years of research and planning, the restoration of the outside of our building began and completed in October of 2005. Click on the following links to view a complete recap of the building project plus the pastor’s project blog and the sermon delivered that day by Rev. Joy Douglas-Strome.