Pacific Garden Mission

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Pacific Garden Mission is a homeless shelter in the South Loop section of Chicago, Illinois founded in 1877 by Colonel George Clarke and his wife Sarah. It has been nicknamed "The Old Lighthouse". It is the oldest such shelter in Chicago. According to the PGM website, "Pacific Garden Mission is the oldest, continuously-operating, rescue mission in the country."

Among the PGM's converts is the famous evangelist Billy Sunday.

In 1950, the Mission began production of "Unshackled", a radio dramatic series showcasing conversions to Christianity. The show, recorded live at PGM, remains in production today and is translated into several languages for international distribution.

PGM's original location was at 386 S. Clark Street. In 1880 the mission moved to 67 E. Van Buren Street, in a location formerly known as the Pacific Beer Garden. The current name, Pacific Garden Mission, was adopted at that time - it was suggested that the name of the former occupant be kept but with the word "Beer" dropped from the name.

The Mission moved to 646 S. State Street in 1923, following a shift in the location of Chicago's Skid Row, just south of The Loop. At that time it was an area known for its hobo jungles and flophouses.

During the past few years the Pacific Garden Mission was pressured by the city of Chicago to move from its current location, due to ongoing gentrification in the neighborhood. Then Jones College Prep, a public high school located at 606 S. State Street, wanted to expand its facilities. As a result, the Mission negotiated with the city in December 2004 to move to a new location at 14th Place and Canal Street, about one mile soutwest of its present location. PGM's current structure will be demolished to make way for the Jones College Prep annex. Groundbreaking for the new facility took place on 2005-11-16 at 1458 S. Canal St., and the building, designed by noted Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman of Tigerman McCurry Architects, was completed in 2007.


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