Today’s installment of Chicago’s Catholic Church a Day is St. Paul’s in the “Heart of Chicago” neighborhood. You might think you are looking at a German village, but you are actually seeing a Chicago building which has the unusual distinction of having appeared in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” in 1938 as the church built without a single nail. Dedicated in 1899, St. Paul’s was designed by Chicago architect Henry Schlacks to be completely fireproof and also to recall the Gothic architecture of the Moselle Valley in Germany, where most of its original parishioners came from. The architect decided to use all fireproof materials–all brick and terra cotta with no plaster coverings over wooden lath. Eventually they caved and got a marble altar and altar rail as well as some mosaics. Despite the fireproof materials, the church is not lacking in sacramental theology: mosaics of the 12 apostles reveal to us the celebrants of the heavenly liturgy, and statues of saints on the piers recall that the saints are the “pillars of the Church” (Galatians 2:9). This church and all of the churches in the “church a day” series are profiled in Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago available through the link at the left.