Churches that Won't Die: Transfiguration

Speaking of churches that won't die, let's return yet again to West Philadelphia's Transfiguration of Our Lord--a parish that, like St. Boniface, represents a wholly disproportionate percentage of the Project's correspondence.

Not that I'm complaining, of course. Especially when the letters are as helpful as this one, from Project reader Frank:

A fellow classmate of Transfiguration School and West Catholic sent me your website address and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your project and reviewing the various churches. I was a parishioners of Transy (as we called it) from my birth in 1940 to 1960 when we moved to Lansdowne. I attended the grade school from September 1946 to May 1954.

I have attached two photos from the 50th Anniversary Memorial Booklet that was issued in 1955. The aerial shot compliments your description that the buildings cover an entire city block and is on a raised plane. Last year I visited the site and discovered that the convert has been demolished. The third and fourth photos are of Cardinal O'Hara entering the church for the 50th Anniversary Mass and the exterior decorations.

In addition to the church in Virginia having stained glass windows from Transfiguration, there are 12 windows in the new St. Elizabeth's in Upper Uwchlan Township (Rt. 100 in Chester County). Also, the stations of the cross from Transfiguration's upper church are at St. Elizabeth's. The pastor, Msgr. Thomas Mullin attended Transfiguration Church & School as a youth.

For more pictures of Transfiguration and other West Philadelphia Catholic Churches visit our West Catholic Boys Class of 1958 website:

Keep up the good work.

Transy, eh? Whew, good thing they didn't go with "Tranny." Even if they did, though, that still would have been better than the rather gross moniker that was once bestowed upon Most Blessed Sacrament by its adolescent male parishioners.

Anyway, the pictures in question appear below:

Good stuff, all of it. The aerial view reminds us of how mammoth the complex was (few can best it in size), while it's always a pleasure to get vintage interior shots. What really intrigues the Project is the last image. Not because it shows the church sparkling and dressed to the nines, although it's undeniably good to see it not looking like a rotting piece of crap.

No, what the Project really finds striking is the front window actually opened. Look at it. Never, ever have we seen that before. Like the spiral staircase out front, it's truly one of a kind. Well, was one of a kind.

(Yeah, that's the kind of minutiae that gets us excited. What? Don't give me that look. The Project is comfortable with its nerdiness.)

Oh, and the Web site Frank mentions is a treasure in and of itself, with images from a number of churches, include MBS, St. Francis de Sales, Our Lady of Victory (deceased), St. Carthage and Visitation BVM. Only a select few are actually vintage, but its still well worth the trip.