Can Worcester afford to destroy yet another historical gem?

A district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones. Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them...If a city has only new buildings, the enterprises that can exist there are automatically limited to those that can support the high costs of new construction....
— Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities
Notre Dame Church is holding its own in the midst of the City Square project.  The developers have requested immediate demolition of this historic structure in the sea of new construction.  This huge swatch of land is slated for the construction of a parking lot, a residential development and a hotel.  It is not clear what attempts were made to integrate this historical building into the design.  

Notre Dame Church is holding its own in the midst of the City Square project.  The developers have requested immediate demolition of this historic structure in the sea of new construction.  This huge swatch of land is slated for the construction of a parking lot, a residential development and a hotel.  It is not clear what attempts were made to integrate this historical building into the design.  

Preservation Worcester needs us to speak out

The following call to action is from Preservation Worcester:

There will be a Worcester Historical Commission meeting on Thursday, May 19th, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Levi Lincoln Room, 3rd floor, City Hall, to consider the request by the owner of the church building (it is no longer the property of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester) to waive the one-year demolition delay for the building and to allow its immediate demolition.  If this request were granted, the owner would be able to demolish the building before alternative new uses can be studied that would allow it to be saved and rehabilitated.

Preservation Worcester hopes to fill the meeting room with those in favor of keeping the one-year demolition-delay as a demonstration of public support for preserving the building.  I hope you and others you may know who have an interest in the immigrant history of Worcester, and or specifically in the city’s French Canadian history, will make an effort to be present at the meeting and will possibly comment on the reasons for attempting to preserve the building. 

Despite its relatively recent date of construction, this building makes a handsome architectural contribution to our city center.  It is significant not only as a handsome building facing Worcester Common, but is especially important as the most recent home of Worcester’s earliest French Canadian Roman Catholic parish.  This parish was the mother church of all of the other French Canadian parishes that once existed in the city, St. Joseph’s, Holy Name of Jesus, and St. Anthony’s.   Of these other three parishes only one is still active and the buildings of only two still survive. In addition, the 1929 Notre Dame building represents the only surviving building built as a church that currently faces on Worcester Common, where there were once as many as five religious buildings, including the 1763 meeting house, which stood on the site of the current City Hall. 

I hope you agree that we shouldn’t lose this building without at least making a valiant effort to save it.  Preservation Worcester would really welcome your help in gathering forces to demonstrate public support for saving the building and for denying the request to waive the one-year demolition delay.

Please pass this on to others who might be interested in the meeting.

Adjacent to the siege of Notre Dame is the activity of bulldozers and construction workers clearing the huge site for City Square.  "Large swatches of construction built at one time are inherently inefficient for sheltering wide ranges of cultural, population and business diversity... When such an area is new, it offers no economic possibilities to city diversity.  The practical penalties of dullness... stamp the neighborhood early.  It becomes a place to leave," wrote Jane Jacobs.  Why won't Worcester heed her warning and understand her forecast?

Adjacent to the siege of Notre Dame is the activity of bulldozers and construction workers clearing the huge site for City Square.  "Large swatches of construction built at one time are inherently inefficient for sheltering wide ranges of cultural, population and business diversity... When such an area is new, it offers no economic possibilities to city diversity.  The practical penalties of dullness... stamp the neighborhood early.  It becomes a place to leave," wrote Jane Jacobs.  Why won't Worcester heed her warning and understand her forecast?