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Building Doors That Survived Great Chicago Fire Get Makeover

CHICAGO (CBS) -- One of the only public buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is re-doing its front doors, which are now 151 years old.

It's Holy Family Church in the 1000 block of Roosevelt Road.

Many people have passed through the doors at Holy Family over the years.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller Reports


"Patrick and Catherine O'Leary--you know, her cow's always been blamed for starting the fire--they were parishioners here at Holy Family," said Father Jerry Boland.

Father Boland says people sought refuge at Holy Family after the fire started.

Now, 151 years after the church opened its doors, those doors are being restored.

Holy Family Doors
The 151-year-old doors at Holy Family are getting some much-needed attention. (Credit: Steve Miller/WBBM Newsradio)

Stan Sliwa of Paul Borg Construction is doing the work.

"This is unbelievable to work on," he said. "I feel very privileged. And here I am touching them and restoring them and bringing them back to life and strengthening them and adding rods to them to help hold them together.

"And new hardware so the public can access (the exit) easily in case of an emergency. And maybe they'll last another 150 years."

The restored doors will be dedicated Jan. 8.


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