Encyclopedia ofChicago
Entries : Pacific Garden Mission
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Pacific Garden Mission

 

 

 

Pacific Garden Mission

Pacific Garden Mission, 1980
The oldest surviving and most visible Chicago rescue mission, the Pacific Garden Mission was founded in 1877 by George and Sarah Clarke in order to “keep crooked men straight.” Located in the South Loop in the middle of “Whiskey Row,” the mission took its name from a former tenant, the notorious Pacific Beer Garden.

The mission has always coupled a simple evangelical Christian message with social outreach to the downtrodden, leading some to dub it the “Hobo Church.” It has provided food, clothing, and the gospel to generations of Chicagoans. The famous “baseball evangelist,” Billy Sunday, was saved at the mission's doors.

A “harbor for wrecked and ruined lives” throughout the twentieth century, the mission added in 1950 a radio program, Unshackled! which reaches more than a thousand stations worldwide with sentimental stories of ruin and redemption. A bright neon cross proclaiming “Jesus Saves” still pierces the night sky, announcing the mission's continuing ministry to Chicago's poor.

Bibliography
Clarke, Sarah D. The Founding of Pacific Garden Mission: Over Thirty-Five Years Contributed to the Master's Service. 1914.