St. Alphonsus Liguori, better known as The Rock Church on North Grand (just south of Page) burned this evening. It was terrible--according to KMOV.com, 45 fire trucks had to be used. Apparently the blaze was started by a bolt of lightening.
My sister and a friend and I were heading north on Grand when we noticed cop cars, then lots of cop cars, then fire trucks, then smoke OH my GOD! Streets were barricaded off a block or two away because there was so, so much smoke. We parked and watched the fire for a while, and saw a large crowd (presumably mostly parishoners) watching as well.
It sounds like the walls survived, but not much else.
Man. I pass The Rock every day on my bus ride to work, and it has always been a sight that buoyed my spirits: a big, big historic North Side church that was obviously still a source of community and obviously still lovingly maintained. It was beautiful. As always seems to be the story, I was forever meaning to stop in there some day to see what the services of such a clearly beloved place were like, and what surprises the building's interior held, but I put it off one time too many. Now I will always regret that.
For now, I'll just keep hoping that something of the building's wonderful physical structure and the lively community it supported can survive. If they decide to rebuild, I hope that we in the architectural advocacy community can find ways to help.