St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church was built in the 1800s and stood until it was struck by fire and burned in September of 1926. The church and nearby cemetery were left to crumble and now the ruins are a part of the Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland.
» 1940 Hans Marx The ruins of the burned out church are visible on the hillside above the houses More about this Photo
The Church Today
After 80 years the church is in complete ruins. If you had never seen the historic photographs you would not be able to tell how big the structure once was. Ivy covered trees now stand inside the church like columns holding up an invisible ceiling. The same vines that cover these trees also cover the interior and exterior walls. In the center of the church someone has built a fire ring, and while I cannot condone building fires in historic structures in state parks, it seemed fitting that the same force that once destroyed the church now is used to brighten the interior walls in the dark of night.
The Cemetery Today
As I walked around this long abandoned cemetery the most recent year I could find on any of the tombstones was 1918. Seeing the trees and vines reclaim the church structure gave me a feeling of inspiration that nature may actually be able to overcome the destructive forces of humans but I didnít get the same feeling here. The cemetery was a sad place; these people were buried by loving family members and the stones were placed here for remembrance but they now would be forgotten if it were not for the occasional hiker who finds them.