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Fire Destroys Chicago Church Called the 'Birthplace of Gospel Music'

Fire has destroyed a historic church in Chicago, Illinois, that has been called the birthplace of gospel music.

Firefighters were called Friday afternoon to Pilgrim Baptist Church. A neighbor said construction workers were on the church's roof when the fire started, but a fire department spokesman said authorities did not know how the blaze started. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The building was constructed in 1890 as a synagogue. Pilgrim Baptist Church took it over in 1922.

Under the leadership of its choir director, Thomas Dorsey, the church was a center for the development of gospel music.

Among the artists who sang at the church was Mahalia Jackson.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.