Archbishop Blase Cupich announced Wednesday he will not live at the Cardinal’s Gold Coast residence. Cardinal George’s successor said he wants to live where he can be most effective when he arrives in Chicago next month. So he will call the rectory at Holy Name Cathedral home.
But what will become of the three-story 30 room Victorian landmark building home to the Chicago bishops since 1885?
The “House of 19 Chimneys,” as it’s called, sits on almost two acres of prime real estate in one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods surrounded by high rises and luxury living.
The structure, WGN is told, is tired inside and far from a posh residence and in need of a facelift.
In 1975, the Chicago Commission on Landmarks declared the mansion a landmark as part of the Lakefront Protection District.
Archbishop Cupich has said he will form a committee to decide how the building could otherwise be used by the archdiocese. Four to five priests live there now in addition to Cardinal George who continues his cancer treatments. A handful of sisters live in the coach house on the property and there are meetings and events there on a regular basis.
In 2002, Cardinal George tried to sell the mansion, saying living in such a place conflicted with his vow of poverty.
The archdioceses maintains that Bishop Cupich said as recently as today that he does not intend to sell the valuable property. But that is exactly what he did in Spokane, sold a building worth millions and used the money to keep parish schools open.