City of Zion is unique in that it was developed from 11 square miles of
raw farmland in 1900 with a city plan.
Dr. John Alexander Dowie had a dream for a Christian Utopia, free from
the sins of the world - a place where children would be removed from an
environment of saloons, tobacconists, dance halls, houses of ill repute,
drugs, theaters, apothecary shops and medical doctors. The hallmark was
"Salvations, Holy Living and Divine Healing."
The Christian Catholic Apostolic Church (now the Christian Catholic
Church)* was chartered July 14, 1896 by Dr. Dowie in Chicago and services
were held in an Indiana Limestone Church on Michigan Avenue and 16th Street.
With the wraparound balcony in the santuary, more than 2,000 parishioners
were seated every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m.
By the summer of 1901, the faithful began building homes on the well-laid
out city, six miles north of Waukegan. Manufacturing was east of the Chicago
and North Western Railway tracks (lace mill, power plant, cnady factory,
bakery, building industry, laundry and printing). Hosea Beach on the lakefront
was a swimming and bathing facility, where the saved also were baptized
in Lake Michigan befroe the Tabernace was built in 1901.
Retail businesses were on Elijah Avenue (Sheridan Road today). Included
were the Zion Department Store, police and fire departments, administration
offices for the church, Zion institutions and industries, and the Zion
Hospice with 326 rooms, later known as the Zion Home.
The square mile center of the city was reserved for worship and recreation.
Today, the origianl church now enjoys a circular 22 acres. The architecturally
modern third church was dedicated on November 26, 1961. Dowie Memorial
Drive circles the Sanctuary, Christian Arts Auditorium, Ellen Llyod Chapel,
Fellowship Hall and church offices and staff.
Surrounding the church is Shiloh Park, a nine-hole golf course, Port
Shiloh swimming pool, reflecting pond, tennis courts, baseball and softball
diamonds, soccer field and two public schools - Central Junior High and
The writer came to the United States from England with his parents.
We arrived in Zion in 1905. My father Richard accepted Jesus Christ as
his Saviour during a Dr. Dowie crusade in London in 1901. His wife, Nellie,
joined him although it was very difficult for her to give up her Anglican
faith, where she had been baptized and christened (this was before the
19th Amendment in 1919, giving woment the right of franchise).
Missionaries are in certian area around the world to fund this important
work, the church uses two barrells colorfully draped with the church colors.
(This article was written by William Schwager and originally published
in The News-Sun on August 28, 1995. Photographs of churches from unknown
*The Church name was changed in 1997 to Christ Community Church.