Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Churches of Nanticoke, Part 1

This is a project I've been kicking around for several years, at least since this post. And thanks to a last-minute schedule change this morning, I was able to get the project started today.

Nanticoke has a lot of churches. How many, I'm still not sure - that depends on what your definition of "Nanticoke" is. Counting just the main body of the city itself, there are over twenty. And I have set out to photograph them all.

I think I got them, all in one day! But this is too much to mash together into a single post. So I've tried to break up the churches into semi-logical groupings, more or less by location.

I started my tour of Nanticoke's churches around 9:00 this morning with a trip to my own church, Our Lady of Czestachowa (also known as St. Mary's), located at 1030 South Hanover Street. I have written about this church before, and it is the initial focus of The Stained Glass Project, so I will be writing more about it in the future.

Heading North along Hanover Street, the first church we encounter is St. John's Slovak Lutheran Church. For some reason this church is not listed in the directory of churches on the Nanticoke City 2006 Community Guide & Map that I had hanging next to the 2008 Recycling Schedule.* It is possible that it was erroneously thought to be a duplicate entry for St. John's Lutheran Church, which is located several blocks away.

According to the sign in front, this church has been around for 120 years as of 2008. It is located at the intersection of Hanover and West Ridge Streets, on the other side of Ridge from Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity, located at 520 Hanover Street, is a huge, impressive church with an incongruously small parking lot located on the other side of the busiest part of Hanover Street - a holdover from a time when churches were neighborhood affairs, and most parishioners walked to church each Sunday. It is imposing on the inside as well, with limited handicapped access and many stairs. The absence of a modern ventilation system results in a striking demonstration of what Purgatory might be like, particularly during long, hot Summer masses. This is the church currently slated to be the primary Catholic church in Nanticoke, post-consolidation.

Holy Trinity parking lot, across Hanover Street from the church.
Some people also park on Hanover Street itself.

St. Mary's parking lot, to same scale.
("Eye altitude" adjusted for difference in elevation.)

Sadly, St. Nicholas Ukranian Catholic Church, located several blocks further North at the corner of Hanover and Green Streets, is now closed, and has been for some time.

We now backtrack a bit for the last stop in the first part of our tour. St. Stanislaus is located at 38 East Church Street, just a few blocks East of Holy Trinity. For many years a special relationship existed between St. Mary's and St. Stan's, and for a while the two churches took responsibility for alternate grades of students - St. Mary's had Kindergarten, First Grade, and all the subsequent odd grades, while St. Stan's had the even-numbered grades. (Each retained its own basketball team, of course.)

This concludes the first leg of the tour of the Churches of Nanticoke. There are many more churches to cover, so I expect to spread this out over another two or three posts.

Map showing the location of the churches featured on this part of the tour. Note the location of this group on the larger map of Nanticoke.

*Also the schedules from 2007 and 2006, just in case those years ever come around again.

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