Two attempts at arty photography with the old Samsung Digimax V4 set on monochrome mode. We also have more ordinary color pictures of St. Josaphat’s.
John T. Comès, one of our best ecclesiastical architects, accepted the challenge of an almost impossible site and came up with this distinctive design for a Polish parish. It was built between 1909 and 1916.
According to the South Side Slopes site, “The church closed permanently after a section of ceiling collapsed about the casket of the last caretaker during his funeral mass.” This is the sort of detail a novelist would invent and then throw out as too implausible for a sophisticated audience.
Built in 1907 (or 1911, depending on our source), this central section has not changed much except for the new windows too small for the openings. The architect was John T. Comès, famous for Romanesque churches like St. Augustine’s in Lawrenceville and St. Leo’s in Marshall-Shadeland. Here he gave the Sisters of St. Joseph a kind of Mediterranean Romanesque tower with a billboard on top. It was later encrusted with featureless modern buildings all around it, and the whole complex is now retirement apartments under the name “Carson Towers.”
This PDF has a picture of the original building. The caption that says “The sculpture over the front door is the only part of the original facade still visible on the building that is now Carson Towers” is obviously wrong; as even a quick glance will show us, almost nothing except the windows and the cornice (cornices often go missing, and somewhere there must be a huge cornice graveyard) has changed about this façade.
If he had known that the church would be demolished the next year, Father Pitt would have been more careful to document it. As it is, he happened to be passing in 2001 with one of his many odd old cameras, and he decided to take this quick picture before rolling on. The architect was probably John T. Comès, who gave this German congregation an Italian Romanesque church, because why not?
The church had been vacant for several years when the Sisters of Divine Providence demolished it and built a new Family Support Center. The front of that building bears a mural with a picture of St. Leo’s in it.