22 January 2008

The future doesn't look good for the shoulda-been-landmarked-a-long-time-ago St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Woodside, Queens, which was ripped by a terrible fire the day after Christmas.

The Rev. Anandsekar Manuel, who headed a congregation that used the church, is quoted in The Daily News as saying that engineers have recommended that the 1874 wooden building be razed. He's holding out, however, waiting on an insurance estimate before making any decisions.

"We want to rebuild," he said, noting that the working-class congregation will soon begin a fund-raising drive.

Manuel and his followers see the effort to rebuild as a test.

"It is a trial for our faith," he said. "The loss brings out a certain amount of sadness and grief, but on the other hand, church is not a building."

The article says the old chapel's "walls and ceiling are the shade of coal, and the stained-glass windows are broken or burned black... The altar has been reduced to a gaping hole in the floor, surrounded by scorched scraps of wood, shards of glass and shreds of soot-stained carpet."

I suppose that, even if the church had been landmarked, the unattended altar candles that did it in still would have done their worst. But I can't help thinking that a structure officially deemed important by the City might have become the subject of greater care by the people who used it.

1 comment:

Owen said...

My gr.gr.gr. grandmother, Anna Maria (Friedle)(Kelly) Howell donated the land for the church and large stained glass window behind the altar. I hope they can rebuild it but even so it will lose its original charachter.

I also hope that the church records are intact since my relatives, the Kellys, Rikers and Terretts were regular communicants.