Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mailbag 14


Hope everyone out there in Projectland had a great memorial day weekend. Now that the fun and frivolity is behind us, let's get back into the swing of things with a letter from the mailbag:

Writes new Project fan Joe Holden:

Just yesterday I read your post on St. Augustine. An historical note: the church's bell/clock tower had an unfortunate blow-over during one of the mid-'90s blizzards. Large chunks of the ornate structure toppled onto the ramp of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The situation drew a lot of attention from the media powerhouses back then, as they appropriately tied the mess in with their storm coverage.

A note on Transy.... an old Irish aunt of mine belonged there. It was, without a doubt, the reputed Irish cathedral of its day. I think it went to war with Our Mother of Sorrows for bragging rights. I guess today we know which structure can stake claim to the spoils, even if OMS is but a shadow of itself from way back when.

Finally.... it was a heartbreaker seeing the old photos from inside Transy. As an organist, I couldn't believe my eyes in seeing that historic three manual Austin organ, decaying. So sad.

Most intriguing. During said mid-90s blizzards the Project was wearing snowpants and praying for school to close, so our mind was certainly not concerned about St. Augustine. That said, the damage wasn't too bad; the restoration is uncanny, and you'd be hard-pressed to notice much of a difference. Witness our picture versus a vintage 1970s one:





(As an aside, note that in the vintage photo, Augustine's foyer is higher. What gives? After this picture was taken, Vine Street was lowered, and so Augustine's entrance had to be lowered as well. Hence, the current foyer is lower than the church. A common feature in later churches, but not at all in churches of that era.

Remember: once again, nothing is as it seems, and precious little of a church can truly be considered "original.")

Also, re: Transy. Not much more we can say about it that hasn't been said before, although the tidbit of the Irish competition between it and Our Mother of Sorrows is fascinating and hilarious. Such wars between neighboring parishes are found all over the history of the Archdiocese, and the Project is endlessly tickled that even churches were / are prone to pride and vanity. Constructed by humans, run by humans, and subject to the same human faults.

OMS won the battle, but I'd argue they lost the war as well. Have you seen that place lately? Good lord.

1 comment:

  1. St. Augustine's tower failure was not only caused by Mother Nature, but due to the failure of the structural wooden beams
    (termite damage). It was going to fall sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete