This Is The End

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Bethlehem Lutheran Pull Down

Koyaanisqatsi (from the Hopi language), noun. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.

The metal beasts struggled and roared, seething and growling, smoke pouring from their snouts. The steel wire strained and snapped, not once, but three times. Finally, as the tethers seemed ready to burst again, they instead went slack, and a great rumbling billowed across the street.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Demolition Photos 096-MOTION

A giant, roiling cloud of pink dust boiled up from the earth, hiding the horrible sight which surely lay behind its opaque darkness. A bizarre, dusty outline of the tower hung in the air for a few moments.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Demolition Photos 124

The sun rose over Bethlehem Lutheran one last time on August 2nd. I was there to witness the final demolition of the tower; I needed to see it, to witness it myself. I also realized I am not working hard enough to save the priceless treasures that St. Louis seems hellbent to throw away.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Demolition Photos 028

Note: It should be stressed the final decision to tear down the tower was made reluctantly; it turns out that the tower was not in fact structurally stable and unfortunately had to come down for the safety of the neighborhood. Why the church was allowed by its owner to deteriorate for over twenty years is a question for another time. 

 

8 Responses

  1. Yojimbo

    08/08/2014, 08:10 am

    Amazing shots. You should send that first still to the Guardian for consideration for their “Images of the Day” feature. Great work. And very few are doing what you are to turn this trend around.

    Reply
  2. Chris B

    08/08/2014, 07:56 pm

    Wow, that’s something. Hopefully your spreading awareness that these treasures are being destroyed is the first step toward saving them.

    Reply
  3. Kyle Lansing

    08/14/2014, 11:47 pm

    I spent a lot of time at this building and it was beautiful but damaged. As much as I hate it there was nothing that could be done but wreck it. It was a danger to that intersection and the school and church next door. It all comes down to money, we didn’t have the money to save all we could, and the congregation didn’t have the money to fix the church. it’s a shame but it happens and the things we can do is fix what we have, and try to preserve the wonderful history we have at our fingertips.

    Reply
    • Chris Naffziger

      08/15/2014, 03:22 pm

      Kyle,

      Good to hear from you! I did want to say I was impressed at how carefully and professionally you brought the tower down. It is a shame, but as you said, it was beyond the means of the congregation to fix the church in its state of deterioration. I do wish that the congregation would have been more active in trying to save their building from this fate twenty years ago, so the problems that manifested in the church this year didn’t have to happen.

      Reply

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