Known as the “King of the Yards,” Father Dorney was a tremendous resource for the Union Stock Yards community.
1851-1914 | Artist: Othmar J. Hoffler (1893-1954)
Impact & Accomplishments
This parish priest was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and ordained in Chicago. In 1880, The Reverend Maurice Dorney moved into the Transit House lodge near Union Stock Yards and began work to build a new Catholic church, St. Gabriel. A temporary wooden structure was eventually replaced with a stone church designed by architects Burnham & Root in 1887.
Father Dorney, who earned a law degree while pastor, was a tremendous resource to the Union Stock Yards community, finding work for new immigrants, mediating disputes between laborers and management, and securing major financial support for his parish.
Known as the “King of the Yards,” Father Dorney was a gifted orator and often spoke in favor of temperance, keeping the neighborhood’s many saloons in check.
Did You Know?
Father Dorney's funeral in 1914 showed the depth and breadth of his influence in Chicago's Union Stock Yards. Photo credit: Chicago Daily News, Inc., photographer./Chicago History Museum
Described in the 'New World', the diocesan paper, as "one of the most impressive funeral services ever witnessed by Chicago..." Every funeral limosine within the city of Chicago was utilized in the procession. In attendance were the families of the captains of the packinghouse industry - the Armour's, the Swift's and the Morris's, Chicago's politicians led by Chicago's Mayor Harrison and legions of parishioners, citizens of the city and Father Dorney's two sisters.
St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns