Friday, February 4, 2011

Immaculate Conception Church

The old Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on Longfellow at Lafayette. St. Kevin's and St. Henry's were apparently rolled into the parish, before the parish was closed due to lack of attendance. It is now home to the Compton Heights Concert Band.It is a beautiful Gothic Revival Church, and I imagine nearby industrial barons from the Compton Heights neighborhood walking over here on Sundays, before I-44 cut off this short stretch of Longfellow from the main portion south of the interstate. It is an idiosyncratic Gothic church, though. For starters, and perhaps not too strange, I am certain the church originally was planned to have a steeple or spire, but either it was destroyed or it was never built in the first place. The right side of the facade clearly shows a lack of symmetry, and the right side looks to be designed for a spire to rise out of its foundations.A quattrefoil surmounts the pointed arch doorway, with the original name of the parish still inscribed above.A rose window crowns not only the facade of the church, but on the transepts as well. The windows now feature protective glass to protect them.The oddest part of this church are its relatively tiny clerestory windows, which are supposed to be anathema to the Gothic style. Of course, the church is also missing flying buttresses, that critical element which allows for the windows to grow larger than they had been during the more heavy-set Romanesque style. I wish I could speak to the architect about his unconventional expression of the Gothic style.

1 comment:

  1. Tom Maher-KirkwoodFebruary 4, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Immaculate Conception took the place of St. Kevin back in 1904. The latter had been one of the "Irish" parishes few blocks away. St. Henry's was combined with Immaculate Conception in 1977, until I.C. was closed in 2005.

    My late Father's family spent some years in St. Henry's, which was a German parish with Mass in German and German nuns. Them being Irish on both sides and him being a left-handed kid, he regularly had his hands beat with rulers. They finally moved some blocks away to I.C. and all was well...

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A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.