Holy Name Cathedral


in Near North & Navy Pier

Holy Name Cathedral is the seat of Chicago’s Catholic Church and where its powerful cardinals do their preaching. It provides a quiet place for contemplation, unless the excellent choirs are practicing, in which case it’s an entertaining respite. Check out the sanctuary’s ceiling while you’re inside. The hanging red hats are for Holy Name’s deceased cardinals; the hats remain until they turn to dust.

Built in 1875 to a design by the unheralded Patrick Keely, the neo-Gothic cathedral has been remodeled several times. Look closely and you can still see bullet holes from a Capone-era hit in the building's exterior. Actually, a couple of gangland killings took place near here. In 1924 North Side boss Dion O’Banion was gunned down in his florist shop (738 N State St) after he crossed Al Capone. In 1926 his successor, Hymie Weiss, died en route to the cathedral in a hail of bullets that came from the window at 740 N State St.

Both buildings have since been razed; they stood in what's now a parking lot across from the State St main entrance. Meanwhile, the bullet holes appear just south of this entrance, in the cornerstone at the edge of the steps, where four very faded pockmarks surround the dedication year.

The cathedral is open most of the day and holds frequent services. If the State St entrance is closed, try the door around the corner on Superior St.