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New Plan To Rebuild Pilgrim Baptist Church

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Pilgrim Baptist Church

Pilgrim Baptist Church, at 3301 S. Indiana Ave., a year after it was gutted by a devastating fire. (2007 File Photo; Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A stalled plan to rebuild the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church is getting new life.

The church, at 3301 S. Indiana Ave. in the Bronzeville neighborhood, was destroyed in an extra-alarm fire on Jan. 6, 2006. Since then, only a shell has remained, with yellow metal beams holding up the 50-foot walls.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports

A $37 million rebuilding plan was unveiled in 2008, but the plan fell through.

But board of trustees chairman Robert Vaughn now tells the Chicago Tribune that members of the church have been meeting with engineers and architects for a new plan. An official announcement is expected Saturday.

Some of the work is scheduled to begin this year, but the church still needs more money for the project, the Tribune reported.

The historic church was designed by legendary architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, and was completed in 1891. It was originally built for the Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv synagogue, which continues now in Hyde Park as K.A.M. Isaiah Israel.

Pilgrim Baptist opened in the space in 1922, and is considered to be the birthplace of gospel music. Thomas A. Dorsey created that sound there in the 1930s, and Mahalia Jackson was among those who sang there.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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