College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Liberal Studies


architecture, history, McCormick Theological Seminary, urban studies


Few people today realize that the black wrought iron fence that runs along the west side of Halsted Street and west on Belden and Fullerton Avenues to the El tracks once defined the grounds of McCormick Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian Seminary. The first major building site in this area, and the first institution, it was truly the cornerstone of our neighborhood. It continued as an important part of this Lincoln Park neighborhood for more than a hundred years.

We see physical evidence of McCormick’s time here in the buildings that remain. But the tightly knit academic, religious and residential community that once existed within the black wrought iron fence is largely forgotten or unknown. Yet its historic presence has much to pass on to those of us who work, study and live on or near the campus. The institution has been gone from our neighborhood for twenty-four years, but its heritage is a foundation for the continuing residential and institutional communities existing side-by-side today.

The seminary’s move to Hyde Park in 1975 offered an opportunity for DePaul University to expand its campus. DePaul bought the west end of the McCormick campus in 1976 and the following year purchased the east end. Today DePaul continues the campus heritage of teaching and service. In the center portion of the old campus, the residents of the historic townhouses, owned individually by the members of the Seminary Townhouse Association, continue to raise families in a caring community and carry on other McCormick traditions. Thus the area within the fence continues as a place of families and community, of students and teachers, of learning and fun and of outreach.