Things were looking pretty grim for St. Saviour’s back in mid-March. Sano Construction had a mechanical demolition permit in hand. The bulldozer was on the site. Robert Holden visited the site on the morning that the church was expected to come down with the hopes of salvaging pieces of the building.
Bob pleaded with the owner of Sano, Vincent Oppedisano, to halt demolition until one of the owners of the site could come down and talk with him. Owner Tomer Dafna arrived at the site and nothing short of a miracle happened. After negotiating with Bob, he gave JPCA 30 days to remove the building from the property.
Things moved pretty quickly after that. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall offered a grant of $100,000. The New York Landmarks Conservancy advanced the money while the grant was being processed. They also paid for the services of experts such as restoration architect Kaitsen Woo and carpenter Russell Powell. Manhattan preservationist Christabel Gough donated the rest of the money needed to disassemble the building.
Edward Kampermann, JPCA’s 2nd Vice President, worked diligently to remove thousands of nails embedded in the wood. This was necessary in order to stack the wood in the trailers donated by Galasso Trucking for storage. The trailers now sit on Galasso’s well-guarded lot in West Maspeth.
The JPCA is working with All Faiths Cemetery on an agreement to reassemble the building on their property. The new building would then be opened as a chapel for the cemetery and a community center and museum for the people of Maspeth and Middle Village.
However, re-erection of the building on its original site would be ideal. The JPCA will continue to advocate for the West Maspeth site to become a park. Nothing would make us happier than to honor the intentions of the founders of St. Saviour’s, the forefathers of Maspeth.