Chicago Kolping Society History

Herman Seibt, a coppersmith and James Ucher, a skilled machinist came from Germany and had settled in Chicago, Illinois and had known the comforts of a Kolping House. In 1872, they were moved to start a society in Chicago. Young German immigrants were drawn to the Kolping Society and membership numbered over two hundred in a few months. The first Kolping House was dedicated in 1874. By 1907, a second house was purchased. By its own merit it was outgrown and was replaced by a larger one in 1921. The residence home at Halsted and Oakdale, which it had occupied for 46 years, provided the services which for so many years made it the foremost lay action groups in Chicago.

Lack of funds sufficient to keep up with public building standards was one of the big reasons that the Kolping House at Halsted and Oakdale was forced to shut down and was sold in 1968.

A new era began. A difficult era. The Kolping Society of Chicago did not have a Kolping House of its own. We had a good society and we wanted to keep the membership together. We wandered from one meeting place to another. In the meantime a great effort was made to acquire a new permanent Kolping House. After two years this difficult era came to an end and the Kolping Society of Chicago purchased a new home, a Kolping Center at our present location (5826 N. Elston Avenue).

We realized through the changing times, our need for a Kolping boarding house was not our goal anymore. The Kolping movement changed here and in many locales. Our main objective was to maintain a Kolping Community Center, where we can provide not only for our Kolping members, but also for the community. We now have the opportunity to spread our movement to everyone in the community.

Chicago Kolping opens its doors to the community for special Boy Scout activities and a polling place for elections. We have numerous Kolping activities for our members. In 1997 we celebrated our 125th anniversary.

Our current Prases is Rev. Michael Scherschel; President is Jon Groll; National Board Member is Cliff Grammich and our Board of Directors Chairman is Alois Ideler.

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