Here's an impressive and balanced Italian Renaissance specimen, (with Romanesque features all around) the Greater Grace Temple Apostolic Pentecostal Church, once Blessed Sacrament Church, at 39th and Bellafontaine (not to be confused with Blessed Sacrament at 20th and Parallel Pkwy in Kansas City, Kansas, still a parish, current home to the FSSP Latin Mass Community, St. Rose Philipine Duschene).
When was it closed? I don't know. Why was it closed? I don't know. I will say that the adjacent school must have really been popular in its day. You can tell it was added onto more than once, and a second building, also a school or a convent of apparently 1950's-ish design, is just south of the church. What a pity. It's obvious from the outside that all the stained glass has been removed, and while one can still see some Corinthian capitals on the columns inside, one imagines that a congregation like "Greater Grace Temple" is iconoclastic. There probably isn't much of the original beauty left inside.
Do share anything you know about this church with me, and if you have any other suggestions--churches on the Missouri side in Kansas City, do make a comment. And remember, east-coasters and Europeans, don't make fun of us because our ruins aren't as old as yours are.
UPDATE DECEMBER 5, 2005
I had a chance to review This Far by Faith, vol. 2, (1992, Rev. Charles Michael Coleman, ed.) at the central public library this weekend. Unfortunately, the book doesn't circulate, and I only allowed myself an hour before the library closed. However, in that hour I found some interesting information that I'll post on some of the closed churches I've visited, and some leads on other churches I'll try to find in the next few weeks.We'll start today by looking back at Blessed Sacrament. . . . . It was designed by Archer & Goyd, and was one of two buildings that received recognition for outstanding design in 1927 (the other being a Jewish synagogue). The cornerstone was laid in 1927, and it was dedicated in October 1928. It was built of Bedford stone in the Italian style at a cost of approximately $150,000. It was the first cut-stone church in Kansas City. It seated 800, and was extensively stenciled inside by Dante Cosentino. The parish paid off the debt from the original building in 1941. The school thrived for many years, but then, startin in the 1960s (concurrently with the Spirit-of-You-Know-What) went through a period of decline and it was consolidated with the school of St. Louis parish in 1974. The last Mass was said in the parish on February 3, 1991 by the last pastor, Rev. Robert H. Stewart. There are many other details in the book, for those of you who might be interested.UPDATE FEBRUARY 12, 2006
Wow. A more careful perusal of This Far by Faith, including volume 1, led to the discovery of some magnificent pictures by Joe A. Stornello in the color plates there (Let's all give Mr. Stornello a "huzzah" for some great photography). The interior of Blessed Sacrament was as well-balanced and aesthetically uplifting as the exterior. Note that there's no newfangled altar obscuring the view of the high altar in these photographs. There's no altar rail around the sanctuary, though. We can see some of Cosentino's stencilling, and his angels on either side of the apse (a descendant of Dante Cosentino told me that about the only place one can still see his work is Our Lady of Sorrows on Gillham Road.
I cannot begin to wonder what Bishop Helmsing (1962-1977) and Bishop Sullivan (1977-1993) were thinking as seminaries, rectories and pews emptied around town and they closed down and wrote off such beautiful edifices, all the while pushing such un-Catholic ventures as St. Mark's Ecumenical Parish and signing off on parish building projects like St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Thomas More and St. Charles Borromeo and some really horrible church out near Belton whose name I forgot. Were Helmsing and Sullivan filled with hope? Did they REALLY think it was a New Springtime?
It brings tears to my eyes to think that this place was abandoned, as far as Catholic worship goes, and while the new churches built south and west are so hideous . . . such as . . . I dare not start the list.