Thursday, January 19, 2006

Finale: St. Augustine's, KCMO

St. Augustine's church was built in 1948 in what must have then been the countryside (79th and the Paseo). As you can tell, it's built on a big scale, and it's a far cry better (inside and out) than anything built in the diocese after that date, but it lacks the attention to detail that make so many of the churches we've looked at so beautiful, and it's not just that ominous minimalism from the decades before the Council--there's something a little off about the proportions as well. The windows in the clerestory just seem too small and too few, even for a modern church in the romanesque style . That being said, I'd trade it for just about anything built in Johnson County.


I'm sure someone whose knowledge of ecclesiastical architecture is deeper than what I got in my high school humanities course can go in to great detail about what's wrong with this church.
I could peer in and see the altarpiece in the apse. It was still intact, and very nice. It wasn't something I could get a decent photo of, through two sets of glass doors and all, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Again, I have little history here. I do know that the geographic parish was suppressed in the early 1990s, I believe; however, ithe buildings quickly found a suitable new life as the Church of the Holy Martyrs, the personal parish for Vietnamese speaking Catholics in Kansas City. The school building is now some sort of residential facility--perhaps an assisted living center?

And, with a whimper, instead of a bang, my tour of closed Kansas City, Missouri churches ends (although, you could argue that it ended yesterday because this church itself isn't really closed, right?).
Tomorrow, I'll start a new tour featuring two closed parish churches, and several ones still open, across the Kaw River in Kansas City, Kansas.

4 comments:

lightning said...

I attended preschool and kindergarten at St. Augustine's in 1983/84ish. My mother was a 5th grade teacher (I'll have to check).
My memories are vague, but I remember the playground north of the school and walking down the Paseo to St. John's Seminary for some sort of youth sport event. I remember that walk because of the lovely bridges over 77th Street on the Paseo - classic Kansas City.
Mike Jones of NFL fame (he played for the St. Louis Rams in the super bowl) went to that school and was taught by my mother. My sister was baptised there and then my mother got a job at Christ the King, so off to first grade I went. I think the School closed shortly thereafter. I have my Preschool Class Photo - I am the only non African American kid in the photo.

Mary Purcell said...

We moved to St. Augustines's parish in 1961 and I attend the Parish School from second through seventh grade. I remember the sister's convent being rebuilt and their presence made a difference in the lives of many. Our playground was the blacktoped grounds behind the school and the parkinglot across the street in front of the church. The older grades playground was down the Paseo one street over on a grassy lot. I was Confirmed and married in this church and my first born was baptized there.

John McNamara said...

I attended First through Eight Grades at St. Augustine. The playgrounds were behind the school and on the immediate East side. Some have since been grassed over. By the time I attended a new addition to the school East of the original structure was complete and in use.

Monsignor O'Rourke was the pastor. He passed away when I was in third grade, 1967.

Most of the parishioners moved to other churches, most notably Christ the King in the early 1990's.

Barbara Dills Gragg said...

My brother and I attended school there starting in First grade. My family moved during my seventh grade year. I was baptized at the church by Fr. Summer's (He became Msgr Summer's). I remember Msgr O'Rourke. My First Communion class picture included him. My mother attended school there before the school's addition. I always thought it was a grand church.