Our abandoned churches have been getting a lot of love lately. First Transfiguration, and now beleaguered St. Boniface, the first Long Goodbye we had the pleasure (err, displeasure?) of visting. A lot of people have talked about this West Kensington landmark's former beauty, but the Project hasn't been one of them. Since we came into existence after the parish was already closed and mercilessly stripped, all we got to see was a broken ruin.
No more. Project reader and St. Boniface alum Marlene Stuchko-Ashton forwarded the following image of the interior, courtesy a 1950s- or 1960s-era postcard:
Hard to tell if it's an actual photograph or not; it looks more stylized, like an artist rendering, but that could just be the effects of aging and digital translation. Regardless, this ranks as one of the more striking churches in the Philadelphia area. A stunning blue and gold columned Gothic design, highlighted by one of the best altar pieces around and a rare wrap-around pulpit.
(And, oddly, it's eerily similar to the parish that ended up absorbing it: Visitation BVM.)
The whole thing is even more tragic because it could have been averted. St. Boniface was a unique closure in that the buildings decayed, not the parish population. It was one of the few instances where the Archdiocese's ham-fisted efforts were actually spot-on. (Although, honestly, they should have stepped and done something long before the building started caving in on the parishioners.)
Enjoy, and weep.