Such Temples as These

This is a very short, very old set of photos.

Built in 1896, this beautiful Gothic Revival church operated for just shy of a century. It was shuttered in 1991 after a dwindling number of parishioners could no longer justify its use.

In 1994, the local archdiocese sought permits for demolition. After a demo date was set, preservationists intervened: An argument was presented that the proposal violated Roman Catholic protocol for the proper demolition of a church, as well as state laws regarding historic landmarks. A non-profit swooped in to purchase the building with a promise to renovate and revive it.

Nothing was touched until 2007, when minor repairs were made to the roof and efforts were made to preserve and protect the stained glass windows. Nothing more has been done in the decade since.

Recent comments from the non-profit company that owns the church indicate they believe it’s still salvageable if handled by the right people. Clearly they have not been inside it recently, because I can almost guarantee it is not. The only ones handling this building are Mother Nature and Time, and the two of them are turning it into dust.

The church is deteriorating at breakneck speed. I’m positive it looks even worse now than it did when I shot these photos a few months ago.

There’s barely any floor left, so I could only shoot from one stationary vantage point. While I was standing there, I was sinking. My little island of floor felt like quicksand. Pieces of ceiling were falling down around us and the air quality was so bad I initially blamed this place for making me so sick earlier this summer. (In retrospect, I’m pretty sure it was actually trash building’s fault, which I shot the day before.)

Admittedly, churches are very hit or miss for me. Some I really enjoy, others just don’t appeal. That might be a carryover from wedding photography. Anyone in my field will tell you dealing with the weird lighting/sickly yellow cast of a church ceremony is not, like, the most fun. I really enjoy looking at other photographer’s shots of old churches, though. And I’m still happy with this little set, as few photos as I was able to get.

2 comments

  1. Looks to be well past the point of no return – regardless of the cash behind a restoration effort.

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