Chicagoland

175th anniversary: St. Stanislaus Kostka: Once one of the largest parishes in nation

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
November 8, 2018

A view of St. Stanislaus Kostka at 1351 W. Evergreen Ave. (Photo courtesy Archives and Records Center)

This story is part of a special issue marking the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Founded in 1867 as the first Polish parish in Chicago, the Resurrectionists have administered St. Stanislaus Kostka since 1869, and founded many other North Side Polish parishes from St. Stanislaus such as St. John Cantius and Holy Trinity Mission. At the end of the 19th century it was one of the largest parishes in the city and country.

It remained predominantly Polish until the 1970s when more Latino parishioners entered the parish. Today, Mass is celebrated each Sunday in English, Polish and Spanish.

More than 250,000 people today pass by St. Stanislaus each day as they drive the Kennedy Expressway and pass a curve designed to go around the church.

Initial plans for the expressway included demolishing the church.

“On the North Side, the Kennedy Expressway, which at the time was called the Northwest Expressway — or in some cases they were calling it the Bryn Mawr Expressway because it was going to kind of run right along Bryn Mawr as it headed out north — the route was going to require St. Stanislaus Kostka to be demolished. The Polish community appealed to the elected officials,” WTTW personality Geoffrey Baer told Chicago Catholic in 2016.

“People have tended to call that bend in the expressway the ‘Rostenkowski curve’ because they think that the powerful congressman, Dan Rostenkowski, who was such a hero in the Polish community, pulled the strings for it,” Baer said. “What we wrote in the show was, ‘in reality, it was a civil-engineer-turned-politician, Bernard Prusinski, who cooked up the plan to shift the expressway to the east.’ Prusinski defeated six-term incumbent Joe Rostenkowski, Dan Rostenkowski’s father, for 32nd ward alderman on a ‘Save St. Stan’s’ platform. The curve follows civil engineer Prusinski’s recommendations to the state.”

Topics:

  • st stanislaus kostka
  • parishes
  • 175th anniversary

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