The Door of Hope is a neighborhood church at the edge of Irving Park that Ellie and I sometimes pass on our walks (we used to go by it every time but our aging pup isn’t usually up for that long of a walk these days, especially in the heat of summer). I had taken my mirrorless camera with me that morning just to grab some snapshots on our walk, but with no image stabilization and an eager dog on the end of the leash, some of the pictures came out rather blurred. I could train Ellie to sit still while I’m taking pictures, but I don’t think I’ll ever try for serious pictures while we’re on our walks as I very much enjoy being in the moment with her.
This church wasn’t being used when we moved to the neighborhood over a decade ago and was slowly decaying until another church purchased it and renovated it and brought it back to life. When I took the picture I realized the original cornerstone was in between the two welcoming doors, reading something like Deutsche Congregationale Zion Kirche, which in English is Zion German Congregational Church (there’s a great picture of the original church there, with the congregation gathered outside for the photo, with a few people looking out from the windows and unfortunately a few people who were spread too far out and got cut out at the edges of the photo).
The church was founded in 1914 by the Volga Germans and has had a long history as the congregation, and the neighborhood around it, has changed. Prior to the church being built our little section of the neighborhood was a horse race track, a fact pointed out to me by a co-worker when I mentioned that when digging in the yard I kept finding these really old square nails, which he recognized as the nails used in horseshoes.