Tuesday, March 20, 2007

St. Louis Church, Fond du Lac

There is something so wrong about a burning church. Even if it's not YOUR church or even your religion you can feel for people who have attended that church, those that have married there, baptized children there, even had funerals there.

Last night, a historic church in Fond du Lac was destroyed by fire and it's so sad to me. St. Louis Church was over 135 years old and was a landmark in Fond du Lac with it's two tall steeples that could be seen as you drove into Fond du Lac on Highway 23 from the West or from the East. I can remember any time we went on a vacation from the time I was little, I always knew we were home when I'd see those steeples. The church was no longer being used for services and had been in the process of being saved from demolition as a local businessowner was buying it to move his sporting goods store there. Maybe divine intervention wanted to stop that from happening as I thought it seemed somehow wrong for a church to become a sporting goods store! Not to mention that Fond du Lac does not need another sporting goods store, auto parts store, bar or chinese restaurant...well another chinese restaurant wouldn't be so terrible. ;)

Anyway, we were out last night when we saw what looked like a row of clouds at the horizon that seemed to be rolling all around the city. As we got a little further west, driving down Park Ave. at the 2nd Street intersection, we were driving in what seemed like fog and realized it was smoke. We followed the smoke in the sky and it led us to where the new Walgreens is going up across from the older smaller one. First thought was that it was Walgreens burning, as we neared we could see insane amounts of smoke and fiery ash flying up into the sky and I gasped and couldn't help but cry when I saw the flames shooting out of the roof and windows of St. Louis Church. I parked at Walgreens to get out and call my mom from the payphone and was shivering and crying as I told her. My loving husband so sympathetically called me a baby when I got back in the car, not knowing why I'd be crying like this. I had to explain to him, thinking the whole time, why don't you get it? It's a historic monument, a landmark in Fond du Lac, A CHURCH!! I'm sorry, but even for anyone that's not religious I'd think the sight of a church burning would evoke some emotion and seem so wrong. I think he got it more after I explained, but still, I told him that next time I'm crying like that his job as my husband is not to make fun of me but to comfort me and be NICE!

Anyway, it was upsetting and I had to drive by this morning again, which again choked me up especially seeing one of the steeples had collapsed since we last were there the night before. There was less activity but I saw a few people looking at the scene in disbelief, those that maybe didn't know what happened until this morning. But, I also was shocked as I looked around at everyone in their cars at this busy intersection...not many were looking at the burned remains of the church, did they already see it? Don't they care? Am I the only one that feels this way about such a thing?

I just expected more activity, more watchers there this morning so I think I was just kind of surprised to see a lot of people going on with their day, driving right by without a glance.

Photos courtesy of Fond du Lac Reporter.


Cheryl said...

You are not the only one who feels this way. Just last Saturday morning, I was sitting in my car at the gas station at Main and Johnson. It was a beautiful, sunny morning with blue skies. I looked over and saw the spires. Then, I thought to myself that I should get over to photograph the church. Now, it's too late. I felt a great deal of sadness and disbelief when I clicked on the Reporter page this morning and saw the news.

Ash said...

It's sad, I know. I also feel like a POS for complaining about the fire at Mcdonald's.

justjenny said...

That's terrible ... What may be even more terrible is that after I saw the photograph of the burning church, my first thought was, "was it violence?" It's sad that that's what I automatically expected upon seeing a burning church. How sad for you to lose a landmark like that, and how sad for the people whose lives and faith are connected to that space.

Elizabeth said...

That's where we got married.
I was sad to see them discontinue it's use a while ago.. but this is even worse.

Tim said...

Beth (Empty Elizabeth) and I were married at this church. This is very sad to me. It is like it erases a part of my past. Every time we visit town it reminds me of our wedding. It will not be so sweet of a memory when driving by the sporting goods store reminding our kids "there used to be a church there and thats where mommy and daddy got married". It is always tragic when a House of God is reduced to ashes.

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...

Isn't is strange the timing of things, just when you were thinking of taking pictures two days before all this.

Ash, I loved your blog about McD's! Don't beat yourself up, but I know what you mean about how you feel.

Justjenny, I agree with you about the "was it violence?" because my husband and I and lots of co-workers think, "was it arson?" It is sad to lose such a landmark and place that had so much meaning to so many people.

Elizabeth and Tim, I know what you mean, I would be devastated if our church burned down too. It would feel like a peice of your past was erased. And like Tim was saying, when you are in town and drive by you always have memories of your wedding day and can tell the kids that's where you got married. Very sad.

Mert said...

I totally agree with you... there is something so wrong about seeing that. I would have teared up too!

Maybe if you poke your hubs in the eye next time he says something like that, he'll cry too! LOL!