07 April 2016
St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church of Decatur
I'm staying with the church theme here.
I have a project in Decatur that drew me into town about a year ago. It wasn't the first time I had been in Decatur, but certainly the first time in a very long time. I remembered seeing a giant unusual spire off of the main route that caught my attention, but not enough to draw me over a few blocks. At the end of last year I went birding, yeah, that's what we call it, with a buddy over that way. I mentioned my project and then mentioned seeing the church spire.
So, on our way back from the Limberlost restoration project, we swung through Decatur to drive past my depot project, and then over to see what was at the bottom of the spire. Fortunately, my friend recognized that he had been to the church and since it was a Catholic church, St. Mary of the Assumption, he offered to go in with me. I don't know if that's because he was afraid I might do some sort of Evangelical voodoo in it, or if he was concerned I might drop dead. Regardless, we walked up to the doors and they were open. And in I went.
The cavernous church was an impressive example of what was becoming a sort of "atomic age" architecture built in 1951 with some exceptional details. The bell tower looks more like a spaceship landing than a housing for a bell that tolls for mass. I think about how cool it would be to sit through a service or two in that building, though I noticed the feeling was more intimidating with this church compared to Tyson. Maybe because it was darker, and larger-it felt as though the ceiling towered above me.
I appreciate good architecture, regardless of when it was built. Good architecture can tell a story, not only in its form and composition, but it also tells a story about the people who inhabit it. What they care about. What they aspire to. I had an exchange with a colleague who asked if the county intended to build a pole building, suggesting that we should aspire to build something that reflects who we are. I responded that I feared that pole buildings did reflect our aspirations.