Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good Shepherd, East Toledo

Oh, dear. It's hard to know where to begin with this one. There's far too much for one post, that's for sure. Let's start with the exterior. Good Shepherd is one of the old Irish parishes and the building was started in 1899 and consecrated in 1901. It, along with St. Patrick's, is one of the city's most noticable churches. The views from the High Level Bridge and from Downtown make it impossible for it not to be noticed. The first time I went down Summit Street I spotted that dome. Guess what, it's even better at close range. Though a bit grimy from air pollution, the walls are made of an almost honey-colored stone, mixed with white. A thorough cleaning and it would bowl you over. Even with the darkening, it's impressive. The stone blends well with the patina on the metal. Look at those towers. Of all the towers in Toledo, I think they're my favorites. Those soaring open arches are hard not to love. The wider, squared lower parts, with their corner finials, really set them off. Now, look at the entrance. It's an arcade with Romanesque, almost Celtic carving on the capitals. Over it is a nice gallery. Hard to believe it survived. They're often pulled down "for ease of maintenance". ( Read: "general laziness" ) Up in the gable is a niche containing a bronze statue of the Good Shepherd. Its base extends as a semicircle out from the wall and is covered with a riot of carving. On it, the Celtic sort of carving is particularly noticable ( Click HERE for a picture ) Remember, there was a lot of Romanesque carving at the time, but the Celtic influence was rather rare. Overall, the design of this building is quite good, though the transepts don't quite live up to the rest. They're a bit bland.
Tomorrow, I'll start posting on the interior. That's where we really can cut loose. It may well be the best church interior in Northwest Ohio. And I don't say things like that lightly. It's incredible.