Status: Active, Roman Catholic
219 Fayette Street
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Original visit: July 26, 2008
Where Is It?
Conshy, baby! 3rd Ave. and Fayette Street.
You know what the Project likes best? Finding hidden gems. Diamonds in the rough. The kind of churches that you never seen coming, yet turn out to be really, really cool. With some churches, you just know they’re going to be special. But others, well, you never suspect them until they come out of nowhere and sock you in the mouth.
That’s the case with Conshohocken’s St. Matthew, a church (and area) the Project very nearly glossed over. On a last-second whim I decided to alter my plans and come here. The result? Magic.
St. Matthew is a great church. Its columned, cruciform Gothic construction is reminiscent of St. Bridget and Incarnation of Our Lord, with the smaller clerestories on the bottom and the large, main windows on the top.
Ornamentally, it falls somewhere between those two; more than Bridget, less than Inky. It utilizes a grey, white and rose color scheme, complete with fantastic marble and mural work in the sanctuary. The altar is far more expansive than any we've seen, and is a highlight here.
Look for it: The stations of the cross, which are actually made of stone. Yeah, stone. First time we’ve seen that.
It has solid size, good ornamentation, and a great feel. All in all, a really nice package.
How's It Doing?
Conshohocken is a model for all old derelict industrial towns to follow. It managed to make the leap from old mill town to social, residential and economic powerhouse, aided by being clean, safe and having a fantastic location. Sure, it may not have the social clout of, say, Manayunk (another remade center of industry), but it's doing pretty well in its own right.
Someone I used to know, a Conshohocken native, once opined that “Conshy is 20 minutes from everywhere.” It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but surprisingly true. Conshohocken has a central location that’s easily served by 76, 476, Ridge Avenue, Germantown Pike and SEPTA’s R6 line. All of the above are fine ways to get there — except, of course, for 76. Always stay clear of that evil highway.
As I mentioned above, the area is good, and the church even has cool diagonal parking spaces along the one side. You can’t get any more convenient than that!
St. Matthew doesn’t use their front doors. It’s true — all entry takes place via the side ones. I don’t know specifically why they’ve barred the doors and removed the handles, but it’s really an odd thing to see.
The only other time we’ve seen that was at our friend St. Martin de Porres. For obvious reasons, I just thought the doors broke and they couldn’t afford to fix them. St. Matthew, what’s your excuse?
The Final Word
Maybe the best in the suburbs. Highly recommended.