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Thursday, August 16, 2007

St. Alphonsus Liguori Church burns

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.


LisaS said...

I waited too long too, Claire, and I'm sad.

Bridgett at South City Musings has a photo of the interior posted. Gorgeous. Gone.


Bridgett said...

The radio report this morning made it sound like perhaps it wasn't as bad as we all first thought. I'm praying , now that I know no one was hurt, that some windows survived. KWMU said it was mostly smoke & water damage on the interior. So that's hopeful.

Anonymous said...

They are holding Mass in the gym this Sunday.

Anonymous said...

note to Paul McKee's accountant: Send check immediately.

Anonymous said...

This is sad news, indeed. I remember seeing the Chamber Chorus here several years ago. As well, some folks from the 10:30(i.e.: hippy guitar/tambourine/bass/keybosrds) Mass at Mary, Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, one of whose members included my late mom, attended one of the Masses held at this church. Needless to say, it was reported that a good time was had by all. This was a gorgeous church. I hope that it can be, and will be, rebuilt. I would gladly give money towards that effort. Sadder still, however, was the assassination of a city police officer by assailant/s unknown last night.

Mark S. Abeln said...

I managed to get photos of the church recently before the fire: http://saint-louis.blogspot.com/2007/06/photos-of-saint-alphonsus-liguori-rock.html

Robert Powers said...

This is terrible. Is there just some kind of curse on St. Louis architecture?

Like LisaS, I never managed to get inside, despite trying on a couple of occasions. Serious regrets now, and I hereby resolve to double my efforts to document every single church ever!

At least the congregation seems ready to rally and soldier onwards.