A Church Preserved…One Stone at A TimeFebruary 10, 2010
A pioneer effort to preserve one of America’s great architectural treasures.
Bill Harrison, an Atlanta architect, told a wonderful story to David Boehmig, our Founder and President, last week about the relocation of a church from Buffalo, NY, to Norcross, Ga. St. Gerard’s Catholic Church (completed in 1911), is located on the shores of Lake Erie in New York.
The church is a magnificent scaled-down approximation of one of the four major basilicas in Rome. The exterior is limestone and the interior is travertine marble and plaster so moving the church would not be easy. To do so, would require painstakingly disassembling, moving, and reassembling it one stone at a time.
Too big a task you might think? Enter in the parishioners of Mary Our Queen in Norcross, Ga. They hired Bill Harrison, of Harrison Design Associates, an internationally prominent architectural and design firm to design plans for a new church. As the plans evolved, Father David M. Dye stepped forward with a unique idea: to purchase and preserve a significant and historic existing church instead of building a new one. The journey to do that took them throughout the Northeast and to St. Gerard’s Church. A dwindling parish population, forced the Diocese of Buffalo to close the historic church. Harsh weather had taken its toll on the 98-year-old structure and if it were to be preserved, it had to be done quickly.
Funds are being solicited now to complete the church’s 900 mile relocation journey. If you would like to contribute, please contact Mary Our Queen in Norcross, Ga.
Also, Joe Ledlie, a Rotarian with David Boehmig and Jenny Pruitt is handling the public relations through the Ledlie Group.