Century-Old Bronze Letters Stolen off Unity Temple

Letters pried off Frank Lloyd Wright-designed church likely for scrap metal

Monday, Oct 4, 2010  |  Updated 9:34 PM CDT
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Dozens of bronze letters that adorned the east and west entrances of the landmark Unity Temple in west suburban Oak Park were stolen last week.

Dozens of bronze letters that adorned the east and west entrances of the landmark Unity Temple in west suburban Oak Park were stolen last week.

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Dozens of bronze letters that adorned the east and west entrances of the landmark Unity Temple in west suburban Oak Park were stolen last week.

The lettering that speaks of the worship of God and service to men were stolen sometime between 10 p.m. Sept. 28 and 9 a.m. Sept. 29 from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed church at 875 Lake St.

Fifty-eight letters that had been in place for 100 years were pried off the face of the building, likely for scrap metal.  Just 14 letters remain.

"To them, it might be worth a few dollars -- I don't know what they'll get for it -- but to us, the emotional value, they are priceless," said Emily Roth, the executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.

The foundation had just celebrated the completion of a $500,000 roof replacement.

"It’s sad that this follows such a joyful occasion," said Roth.

The vandalism is the second instance at Unity Temple this year, OakPark-Leaves.com reported.

The church building is considered an historic landmark. Roth said more than 30,000 tourists visit the church every year.

Anyone with information on the vandalism is urged to call the Unity Temple Foundation at 708-383-8873; or Oak Park police at 708-386-3800.

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