I began my annual trek to St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN today. Of course, I had to make a few stops along the way...
St. Mary parish in Alton, IA was founded in 1870 and the current neo-romanesque church was constructed in 1908. Originally, the church had a clerestory visible to the exterior, however in 1941, because of water leakage, the roofline was extended to cover it. The original clerestory is plainly visible from the interior, as the darkened upper windows give evidence.A pamphlet at the church states that the interior of the building is 168 feet long, 70 feet wide at the transepts, and 43 feet tall. This same pamphlet also explains that
The magnificent stained glass windows, imported from Munich, Germany are estimated to be the largest square footage in any one church (about 2,300 square feet) in the United States.As impressive as the artistic quality and size of these windows are, I am somewhat skeptical about this statistic, but that certainly does not detract from the beauty of the structure.
The church is also home to a rather jumbly looking Moller pipe organ (opus 7699, built in 1949) that was rebuilt at some point by "William C. Jackson, Beresford, SD."
I've been to this church many times before, however, I was in for a pleasant surprise this year - the interior had recently been renovated. This very nice warm, yet simple paint scheme is the perfect compliment to the architecture of the building.I will post some before and after pictures as soon as I can find some of the old one's I've taken.