NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) – A 150 year-old Catholic church in North Adams is being torn down, and Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski traveled to northern Berkshire County Friday to review the demolition work.
Debris began falling from the steeple of St. Francis of Assisi last week, and a safety perimeter had to be set up around the church, which has been closed since 2008. Because of that, some nearby businesses on Eagle Street had to be shut down temporarily and apartment residents had to be evacuated. Demolition of the steeple began on Monday, and the safety perimeter has since shrunk- allowing residents and businesses to return.
Bishop Rozanski said that he can understand the sadness that former parishioners must be feeling right now.
“This is part of history. This is part of North Adams history, this is a part of the history of the Diocese of Springfield. And it’s a sad, sad day for me to see this. We never want to see a church being taken down,” Rozanski said.
Peg LaBombard’s family had been a part of St. Francis Church since her grandparents’ generation. She said that things have changed greatly over time, but always felt at home at St. Francis.
“It was a wonderful church, and whenever you walked in, you just felt such peace,” LaBombard said.
Once the steeple has completely been taken down, demolition will continue on the rest of the church building, though no exact timetable has been set. The cross from the church steeple will be donated to the North Adams Historic Society, and some bricks and other artifacts from the church will also be made available at a later date.