Church of the Assumption Gets a Demolition Reprieve — But Should It?

A recent look inside the building shows just how much work there is to be done.

Not long ago I got a chance to walk around the embattled Church of the Assumption, the historic Spring Garden church that’s been the subject of a demolition-vs.-preservation battle for what seems like eons now. (Should you require a refresher, there are reviews of the situation here and here.) I’m always sympathetic to the notion of preservation, and given the important role the building has played in the city’s architectural and religious history, I was distressed by the notion of its being torn down to make way for new construction.

I still hope that it can be salvaged. But walking around inside provides a different perspective on the property — which is to say, it’s both beautiful and filled with remnants of history and evidence of a thriving religious community, and it’s falling apart. A restoration would be a massive undertaking that’s not obvious from the outside. The question of whether it’s in imminent danger of collapse is a structural one to be decided by people with engineering degrees. But for now, the imminent danger of collapse is to anyone who walks around inside.

Below, a gallery of the church’s large spaces and small details — the mix that makes it so very hard to let it go.

Photos by Liz Spikol