Duffy’s Historical Past Vol. 1

Duffy’s Historical Past Vol. 1

   St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the dedication in 1924                St Martin De Porres Church as it looks today 

Joseph J. Duffy Company

A part of Chicagoland since 1923

For more than 90 years, Joseph J. Duffy Company has been a trusted name in construction throughout Chicagoland.  While presently we are known for our excellence in senior and multifamily housing, we have several types of buildings in our repertoire, including the historical St. Thomas Aquinas Church (renamed St. Martin De Porres in 1988) on Washington Blvd. in Chicago. 

Dedicated in December 1924, the gothic revival-style structure is now considered an historical landmark.  “Designed by an architect in the parish, Carl M. Vitzthum, the new St. Thomas Aquinas Church featured flying buttress, gargoyles and, atop its tower, a Celtic cross.  Over the entry doors was the huge stained glass window of Mary…made of glass imported from France, the window was designed by the F.X. Zettler Company, which, during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, beat out Tiffany’s for the award for stained glass.”

According to a history of the parish, in 1923, when the Archbishop objected to the height of the 12-story tower, which is still the tallest structure in the Austin area, the Monsignor went ahead and dedicated the cornerstone without the Archbishop’s presence.  Today, for the large, mostly African American parish, the tower still stands “tall as a symbol of Christian service and leadership and a fortress of love, faith and vision,”