Art Deco Church takes eyes heavenward
Annie Jansen and I were in Bloomington on one of our monthly get togethers in March of this year. We got turned around in town and spied the amazingly beautiful Holy Trinity Catholic Church on the corner of Chestnut and Main. We vowed on our next trip if the church was open to the public that we wanted a tour.
A call landed us just that and the first of July we saw the majesty of this Art Deco church is truly awe inspiring.
The church architect was A.S. Moratz and the church cornerstone was placed in 1934. You can see the name and date engraved in the stone.
This was not the first Catholic Church onsite and the church community actually began at another location. Holy Trinity Parish was established in 1853, when the Bishop of Chicago named Fr. Bernard O’Hara served as the first pastor. The first church building was a renovated Methodist church located on Olive near Main.
Church history states, “The Catholic Church’s commitment to education was manifest at Holy Trinity in 1858, when the first school for boys was built in the 800 block of North Main Street. Five years later in 1863, the St. Joseph convent was built. In the spring of 1869, a new church was framed and enclosed on the site of the current rectory, with the interior work scheduled to follow. A tornado completely destroyed the unfinished building. Since the structure was not insured, recovery from this natural disaster was long and difficult. Eight years later in July 1878, Bishop John Spalding dedicated the new church at the corner of Main & Chestnut.”
Later on Tragedy struck the parish again, as fire totally destroyed the church in March 1932. Fortunately, Msgr. Stephen Moore had the foresight to buy insurance, which covered most of the financial loss. The finished Art-Deco building was completed in 1933 and opened in 1934.
In April 1934, the parish celebrated the dedication of the new art-deco style church that still stands today. Church history states, “The current structure is widely recognized as the purest and most imaginative expressions of that architectural design in the nation.”
This is one of only a few Art Deco churches. Annie and I were taken by the beauty of the church which is truly is awe inspiring. There is not a detail left untouched from the doors that enter the church to the lovely stained glass windows. Even the banister going up to the organ loft has a beautiful formation. Everything in the church reaches up, up to the sky in an architectural praise to God.
Outside there is a statue of St. Francis in the midst of a garden. All around are places to seek sanctuary and sit and experience God’s Holy Spirit.
Log on to https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=7Ua8pzdgnAS for a 3-D view of this lovely church.