Architectural historian critiques article on history of Catholic Center buildings

To the Editor:

I am writing to you regarding the article written about the West Side Catholic Center, published on page 11 of the June 2011 Plain Press.

Included in that article are a couple of paragraphs pertaining to the history, architectural and otherwise, of some of the Center’s buildings.  These statements contain several substantial errors.

The first two sentences in the article pertaining to the history of one of their buildings are, “The building that is called Moriah was a two-story wooden structure built in 1912 by architect George H. Steffens.  It is known historically as the Miller Block.”  (1) The building that is called Moriah was not ever a wooden structure. It was built as a brick structure, and has continued as such to this very day.  (2) This structure was not built in 1912.  It is an early example of the Italianate style and could not have possibly been built any later than the 1870s.  (3) Considering when this building was actually built, it could not have been built for Steffens, since he hadn’t even been born until 1871.  (4) This building has never been known as the Miller Block.  The actual Miller Block is directly across the street from the so-called Moriah building.  [It was built from 1906 to 1908, obviously for a man named Miller, and was, coincidentally, designed by Steffens — although all of this should be ‘irrelevant’ as this structure has absolutely nothing to do with the West Side Catholic Center.]

The very next paragraph is, as it states, about the building next door to the Moriah building.  One sentence in this article is, “The Landmarks Commission website shows that there used to be two different auto shops there.”  This is impossible. Not only is it true that the Landmarks Commission website not only has no information whatsoever on this building, it is also true that it has no information pertaining to historical uses/occupants for any building [other than perhaps what a building was when it was brand-new].  Landmarks Commission staff have confirmed this.

Otherwise, the West Side Catholic Center was certainly worthy of a story being written, and as always one can always depend upon the Plain Press to give coverage to topics the mainstream media steers away from.  Bravo to both writer and newspaper on this account.

Craig Bobby

Architectural Historian & Researcher

One response to “Architectural historian critiques article on history of Catholic Center buildings”

  1. […] See Letter to the Editor in July Issue  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. « Buhrer […]

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