Friday, January 15, 2010


This week Saint Sebastian Parish is celebrating its titular feast day. This year we are having an exhibit of some of the proposals for future development of the property from the early 30s. This first plan shows the original church and school but nothing else came of these ideas. In the lower left hand corner is a trail and grotto. A line of trees through the center marks the parish gardens. Next to that is the nun's private lawn. And way to the left is the rectory.
Here is a detail close-up of the rectory. Notice the rector's garden, pool, and summer house. If you tried to pull this off today you would be hung from the highest tree. Selfishly I wish Monsignor Zwisler would have pulled it off. "What do you expect? It was here!"

This was another idea. The original school and church are seen here as above but the rest of the grounds are much different. The convent is the small building at the top of the page and the rectory opposite. The church which today faces Mull Avenue and is built in a modern Romanesque style is shown here with an apse and large dome.

Now I am willing to admit these are quite grand designs and there could be great debate as to whether such grandeur is the business of local parishes. That is a debate for another day. But what is important here was that there was a grand scheme in mind. As too often happens a parish just happens and when they need a building they stick it in the next available place. That usually ends up with a mishmash of buildings oddly placed. It is not an ostentatious thing therefor to at least have an overall vision for the future (maybe without the pool) so that the end result may be please to the eye and pleasing to be in. There is no sin in that.
I have found in the archives of many older church are grand designs such as this. My home parish which was quite tiny had beautiful plans to build an English Gothic school attached to the little church. For various reasons however it was built down the street in 1950's utilitarian splendor.
So check your vaults! Your blue print files! Who knows what dreams you might find!


Cracked Pot said...

Father, Thanks for this display of what might have been. For us parishioners who are relative newcomers, and/or did not grow up here, it's nice to see these plans and know that the founding pastor envisioned a future for his people. It makes me feel more a part of this parish by knowing some of its history, just as I know some of the history of my natural family.

ck said...

I spent the first five years of my engineering career drawing at a drafting board and making blueprints. So sad that it’s becoming a lost art. Your blueprints make my heart go pitta-patter. You can see the Art Deco influence of the era.