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First Church of Lombard

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The first building of The First Church or Christ was built at what is now the northeast corner of Main & Maple Streets.

The Maple Street Chapel was dedicated on May 29, 1870,
not quite a year after a previous house of worship was consumed
by a fire.  The new church building quickly became an important piece of the fabric of the Lombard Community.

The first town meetings for the Village were held in the Chapel.
The Reade Room, at the south end of the Chapel
building, served as the Village’s first library.
The bell in the steeple not only called people to worship on Sunday mornings, but also summoned the Village’s volunteer fire department.
After the turn of the of the century, the
Chapel even presented silent movies.

The year is 1994.  Two years earlier, a storm brought down the cross from the top of the steeple.  A new Celtic cross, 6' tall, complete with internal lightning rod, was installed.

In August of 2017 we were grateful for that foresight, as the steeple received a lightning strike.  Many little devices in the fire & burglar alarm circuits were fried, but the lightning rod absorbed the full force of the bolt and no damage was done to the structure.


"Listen and You Will Hear....."










This document, dated 1868, is probably from the original building.
















Oldest picture of the exterior
Probably taken 1870 - 1880
    1. Original entrance doors on
        north side, in finished
        (unpainted) wood
    2. Wood fence across front
        (probably on north side of
         Maple Street)
    3. Apparent absence of roads
        (probably dirt paths)
   4. Two roof lines  -  sanctuary
       (front) and Reade Room
       (back).  A third roof line
        now appears in the space
        that now houses the 1940
        pipe organ.








Oldest pictures of the interior
(dating to early 20th century)
Top picture probably older than bottom, because top picture has no carpeting, but bottom one does.
    1. Original organ (replaced in
        1940) with pipes at console
    2. "Light fixture" which was
        actually just a rack that held
        kerosene lamps (in top
        picture, there is a kerosene
        lamp on the back wall to the
        right of the door.)
    3. Original configuration of
        altar, which was not raised.
Interior originally did not have the beaded board on the walls, but it had been added by the time these pictures were taken.













Photo taken in 1907.  In this picture and the next one are the
only known views of Cushing Hall, torn down in the 1970s.  It is in back of the chapel to the right.  Note, in contrast to the older picture, that the entry doors had been painted white.







Photo taken in 1912, facing south.  The two-story house to the right of the chapel, covered with stucco, was the George Hiel house, purchased by the Village and torn down in 2003.  At the right edge of the picture is the house which is now the Lombard Historical Museum.





This picture probably dates to the 1920s or 1930s.  The kerosene lamps have been replaced, but the original organ is still present, and the altar is still in is original configuration.