Identifying himself as a messenger from god, Persian prophet Bahá'u'lláh founded the Bahá'í religion in the mid 1800s. Claiming to have had visions from Abraham, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh taught that all religions were one, and all humanity on a single spiritual journey.
Today despite five to six million followers of the faith spread throughout the world, there are only seven Bahá'í houses of worship in the world and only one in North America. Known by Baha'i as the "Mother Temple of the West" and formally as the "Bahá'í House of Worship for the North American Continent" and located near Chicago, Illinois it is the largest and the oldest surviving Bahá'í church in the world.
Construction began in 1921 and was completed in 1953, with a delay of several years during the Great Depression and World War II. The cladding is made of white portland cement concrete with both clear and white quartz aggregate. It has received numerous design awards, and is a prominent Chicago-area landmark. In 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.