The disassembly process has finally begun for the long embattled Saint Saviour’s Church in Maspeth, above.
The church, built by Architect Richard Upjohn in 1847, was nearly destroyed as recently as late February, when demolition crews were brought onto the property by the site’s current owner, Maspeth Development LLC. Trees on the property were pulled down and the adjoining parish hall building was fully demolished.
But local civic groups have long maintained that the church should have been landmarked. The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected those claims, citing a 1970 fire that destroyed a small portion of the original structure.
Critics of the decision, most notably the Juniper Park Civic Association, argued that much less of the original structure had been damaged than the commission had estimated — a claim they say has been proven true now that old shingles and a false ceiling have been removed to reveal the wood underneath.
All Faiths Cemetery, located just a few miles away in Middle Village, has agreed to accept the church on a parcel of land it has set aside for the purpose. But serious questions remained regarding how the move was to be financed. A recent allocation of $100,000 by Borough President Helen Marshall, and a $100,000 capital grant secured by state Sen. Serphin Maltese, of Glendale, among other funds, has guaranteed that the removal process can be completed, although those involved expect the reconstruction process to require significant additional funding.