Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saint Mary of the Assumption, Decatur, Indiana

A few detail pics from Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Decatur, Indiana. A magnificent example of Mid-Century Modern used in religious architecture, it must have created quite a stir among the older churchgoers when finished in 1952!

Just look at that bell tower/steeple, looking very much like a Soviet rocket booster, and topped with a "Sputnik" cross.

Then there's the star/comet motif... it would be right at home with Soviet governmental or monumental architecture (someone will have to tell me what "HTA" and "MPA" mean).

The figure of Mary over the front entrance reminds me of the sarcophagus from "The Fifth Element", and again is very "Russian Motherland" in appearance.

Finally there is the amazing bas-relief over the entrance, below Mary's feet. This would be right at home in ancient Egypt, or perhaps Babylonia. Note the alienesque hand positions, and the lamb seemingly floating in space.

I'm dieing to go back some time when I can see the interior!


  1. I do not know, but the statuary looks like it may have been done by Christian Petersen. He was born in Denmark but lived most of his life in Iowa. The date is about right, the location is close and he did become a Roman Catholic in midlife. 2 + 2 = 4.

  2. Nice series. The third from the bottom is my favorite. I really liked the upward angle. Nice commentary too.

  3. The Interior is so beautiful. Old stained glass windows, huge pillars. The ceiling is painted, old stone floors, one of the priests has spiffed up the doors leading into the sanctuary with more stained glass and at the alter there is a huge mosaic of Mary. I LOVED going to this church when I was little. Not for mass, mind you, but because this is such a beautiful church.