The Transfiguration Catholic Church at 923 Sycamore Street has been in the news recently when its parish board of trustees revealed plans for its demolition.
In reaction to this intention, the Catholic Church is requested to be willing to work with community groups interested in preserving church architectural treasurers when they become victims of a loss of congregational numbers and support.
The church is of Gothic revival style and is 101 years old this August. As much as $200,000 has been made available from the diocese for the purpose of demolition.
As a person who works in construction, has some experience in this speciality, and has examined the church building, it is my opinion that for far less money, the church's two main structural faults can easily be corrected.
The masonry shell is basically sound. The church can be made waterproof and further interior deterioration prevented by the replacement of the slate shingles on the roof and the rain management systems running around the perimeter of the roof.
As many of the artifact fixtures of the church as possible should be kept in the church for which they were designed. This includes the stained-glass windows, the murals and the wooden altars. Any future use of the building may leave the artifacts intact and in place if compatible with that use or stored elsewhere for exhibition.
The first move the diocese can make to show it cares about its architectural inheritance is to remove the demolition deadlines it keeps advancing. This will provide concerned groups who want to save the church with time to find a potential use under a viable financial strategy able to preserve this example of 19th century ecclesiastical architecture that couldn't be recreated today.
WARREN F. GLOVER