gratuitous image
22 January 1996

Church of the Plywood Triptych

I have always liked this church because of its strange story.

Twelve years ago the the religious institution that owned this building deconsecrated and sold it. (High church officials lost a fortune speculating on the stock market; the gods were not not on their side.)

The Bartoni family bought the church for almost nothing and moved into the steeple. They had an elegant housekeeping arrangement: they simply threw garbage down into the cavernous building below. They augmented their small income as musicians by also illegally using the church as a dump for industrial solvents. (A trucker bribed them; how could they say no?) Eventually the barrels were buried under a gentle shower of bones and liquor bottles.

The bank evicted the Bartonis after they failed to make regular mortgage payments. The Bartonis lost their home-cum-dump, and the bank gained what government inspectors certified was a toxic waste site.

I once thought the building had no religious significance, but I was mistaken. The three huge plywood rectangles are lovely, especially contrasted against curves that died over a century ago. I worship rectangles.

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©1996 David Glenn Rinehart