NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A part of the city’s past has been languishing in a pair of sealed trailers in Queens for almost a decade.
CBS2’s Lou Young was there Tuesday when they were opened for the first time since 2008. Luckily, the pieces of history are right where they were left.
The trailers contain the pieces of St. Savior’s Church which originally stood in Maspeth, Queens for 160 years before it faced demoliation in the face of 21st century progress.
Local preservationist Robert Holden pointed to where the house of worship once stood. A warehouse stands on the spot now, but the church survived — albeit in the form of a giant puzzle.
“All the beams have tags on them and everything was documented and filmed as it was taken apart,” Tony Nuzziato from the Juniper Park Civic Association said. “We had experts on board then that cost tens of thousands of dollars.”
A fire in 1970 cost St. Savior’s its steeple, and somehow an official historic designation.
But to those who know Queens, there is no question of the church’s value.
The church was built by townspeople in 1847 based on a set of plans by Richard Upjohn — the same architect who built Trinity Church in Manhattan — according to Christine Wilkerson from the Newtown Historical Society.
The style is known as “Carpenter Gothic,” and the trees used for the lumber currently on layaway are made of New York City wood cut down 20 years before the Civil War. They pre-date George Washington as far as their age goes.
Preservationists would like to put St. Savior’s back together on a plot of land owned by All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village. All they need is money — which the city was not interested in providing eight years ago.
“Every preservationist said it was a noted building that should be saved,” Robert Holden from the Juniper Park Civic Association said. “Unfortunately the Bloomberg administration didn’t agree.”
Now it’s the de Blasio administration’s turn to consider the $2 million project on a tight city budget that won’t be finalized until later this Spring.
Galasso Trucking has stored the church pieces for free since 2008. The company has pledged to donate the use of their trailers until the restoration is complete.