St. Mary’s Church Ceiling Collapses

St. Mary's Church

The ceiling of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church fell Saturday, April 8, but no one was injured.

The Reverend Brent Norris, Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church reported to his community that the ceiling over the sanctuary and altar areas at the church fell in on Saturday the 8th of April. There was some surface damage to the floor and altars, but only one small table was lost. Clean-up and repairs have been ongoing by dedicated members of the church.

That ceiling was installed in the 1960’s. A crack had been noticed during the day, and the altar appointments had been moved down to the nave floor. Fortunately, the collapse happened when the building was empty, and no one was injured for which everyone is thankful. Of course last minute adaptations had to be made for Palm Sunday and Easter Vigil services.

St. Mary’s Church began on June 4, 1914, through the inspiration of some twenty parishioners of Trinity Church, Asheville. They wanted to continue worshipping in the Anglo-Catholic tradition that Father Charles Mercer Hall had brought to Trinity when serving as interim there. On June 4, 1914, the first vestry was elected and the official name chosen – St. Mary’s Church. By October the fledgling parish had purchased a lot on the corner of Macon Avenue and Charlotte Street. The erection of the chapel that is still the front portion of the church took just over two months, finishing in time for the first service there, held on Christmas Day 1914. St. Mary’s was designed by Richard Sharpe Smith, the talented English architect who came over to work on the Biltmore House and Chauncey Beadle who supervised the Estate grounds. St. Mary’s is in a historic red brick GothicRevival style on the corner of Charlotte Street and Macon Avenue.

In 2010 a new Parish Hall was added to the church, designed by preservation architect Robert G. Griffin of Griffin Architects, PA of Biltmore Village. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

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