Goodbye To A Century-Old Church

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WILKES-BARRE -- After some delays, a former church in Wilkes-Barre is finally being torn down.

Demolition of the Holy Trinity Lithuanian Church on East South Street was originally scheduled to begin Monday.

The snowy weather on Monday and then wind conditions on Tuesday delayed the start of demolition of this church that closed in 2010.

As demolition finally got underway, some people in the community came to say goodbye.

Piece by piece, brick by brick, crews are beginning demolition on the Holy Trinity Lithuanian Church on East South Street in Wilkes-Barre

"It's not like you see on TV with an exploding implosion. It's not like that, just machine work," said Jason Klush, a member of Stell Enterprises demolition crew.

The Diocese of Scranton closed the church in 2010 as part of a consolidation.

The crews are expected to spend the first week just taking down smaller structures on the church like its crosses, angels, and even the church steps.

wb church II

"You can see the steeples; we are going to work that by hands and saws. Then when we get to the brick, we'll have hammers, just hand and air hammers, and we'll bust some of the brick down," Klush said.

The demolition crew members say it will take three to four weeks to level this church that has been around for more than a century. But people who are standing by to watch say it's about more than just seeing bricks and mortar torn down.

"I went to school that was here for eight years and I belonged to the church, and I got married in the church," said Irene McKenna.

McKenna is visiting from Florida, but grew up in the area and went to church at Holy Trinity. She says she has many memories there.

"My ancestors were here, my grandfather and my grandmother, and they were part of building the church. And my mom, she cleaned the church for over 40 years. She was the last person to lock the doors when they closed the church."

Crews took down some of the crosses and decorative statues carefully. There's no word on whether those pieces may be reused at other churches.

The Diocese of Scranton says it plans to sell the property once the church is demolished.

5 comments

  • Stanley Sova

    Was born and raised in this area some 60 + years ago, Holy Trinity Church has been a landmark in Wilkes Barre for as long as I can remember, then we get some young whipper snapper that says “Every time a steeple falls the world gets one step closer to normalcy”, well when all these churches were being used and Wilkes Barre had 110,000 people in it, we had 5 police officers and 2 reserves, now that all the churches are going away, we have 100+ police officers, close to 22 murders a year, and people who accept crime like it is normal. Just keep ignoring God, it is showing by the type of people we now have in Wilkes Barre, and the population 42,000 decreasing. This town needs churches very badly.

  • gerbilhunter

    If you don’t pay the rate of homage the Diocese demands, they close down and destroy your house of worship. Then they blame finances, this coming from the richest religion in the world. At least they were until they started paying child sex abuse lawsuits.

    • My Dog Is Smarter Than You

      I can’t disagree with you. However, there is hypocrisy on both sides. Many of these churches are mostly empty week after week, month after month, year after year. Then the “parishioners” come out of the hand-carved woodwork and cry foul when the Diocese announces the closing. My parish is standing room only every week and we’ll never be closed. If you don’t want your church closed then show up more than Christmas and Easter. You might actually get something out of it. My family and my parish community does.

      • Bea

        Totally agree. Few people go to Church these days, but want to look at the Church as they drive by. Churches are made to attend. They are not decorations under a Christmas tree. Don’t go and they go bye-bye.

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