Built in 1846, with substantial remodeling completed in 1866 by the Jesuits to serve the German population of the Near North Side, the Shrine of St. Joseph is one of the oldest buildings still left in the city. The lavish Baroque facade, from 1881 (bizarrely and incorrectly described as Romanesque at the shrine’s website) seems appropriate for the Jesuits, whose elaborate home church of the Gesu in Rome was the model for many of the religious order’s churches around the world.
The towers once possessed much taller, Baroque style tops, but they were removed in the 1950s due to stability and an obvious change in taste in the middle of Twenteith Century.
The articulated facade, with its pilasters, lunettes and balustrade also speak to the Baroque style.
Interestingly, the side elevations are more simple, with a classical pilastered arcade of windows.
The church now sits in a strange neighborhood just north of downtown; rebuilt in 1980s, the surrounding townhomes are well maintained, but not particularly lively.