Gargoyles in the news

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Woman killed by falling gargoyle

A 34-year-old woman was killed when she was struck by a piece of a stone gargoyle that fell from a Chicago church in early September. Sarah Bean, 34, was a mother of two and a medical technician at a local hospital. Lance Johnson, her fiance, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking more than $100,000 in damages, according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times. He and Bean were going to lunch when she was hit.

An annual inspection of the Second Presbyterian Church, at 19th Street and Michigan Avenue, was planned for later this year, the Sun-Times story said. City inspectors visited the church most recently in October 2013 for a “minor inspection,” but a 2011 city-ordered structural engineering report noted problems but no “imminently hazardous conditions” at the church which is more than 100 years old. The church subsequently passed inspections in early 2012 and 2013.

 

Philly gargoyles make annual appearance

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Earlier this month, two 300-lb. gargoyles were raised to the top of the facade of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The gargoyles – Frank and Carson – are brought out to help … celebrate? … “Terror Behind the Walls,” called the largest haunted house in the U.S., which is running this year from 19 Sept. through 8 Nov. The event has been held since 1991.

Frank and Carson were designed and built specifically for Eastern State Penitentiary by Creative Visions in St. Louis.

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Proceeds from admissions go to the operation and preservation of the 19th-century prison, which is National Historic Landmark, according to its website.

Eastern State Penitentiary at night • Credit: Sean Kelley/Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary at night • Credit: Sean Kelley/Eastern State Penitentiary

 

Syracuse residents urged to look up

David Lassman, a writer-photographer at syracuse.com, the website of The Post-Standard newspaper, recently urged people to look up and take notice of the “interesting stone images” on the New York city’s many 19th- and early 20th-century buildings. He posted nearly 30 photos of gargoyles (“a weird feature not seen in today’s architecture”), “classical statues” and other faces watching over the them.

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Gargoyles in the news

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trib1ATLANTA: Houses in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward on Kennesaw Avenue are lodged between desireable neighbourhoods that warrant asking prices of $500,000 – and high-crime areas that mean thosehouses remain on the market for months. One such house was highlighted here because of the two gargoyle statues on its front porch. “Crime be damned!” said the article.

BARRE, VERMONT: A new bicycle rack features two gargoyle sculptures at either end of a serpentine metal bar on the town’s Main Street. They were created by local sculptor Chris Miller as part of the Stone Sculpture Legacy Program, which was paid for by the Charles Semprebon Fund. Sempron, a Barre native, left $2 million to the city when he died in 2009, earmarking about half of the money to complete a bike path between Barre City and Barre Town and some of the bequest to promote public art. Semprebon was a cycling enthusiast and Barre is a stone capital, with a history of granite-working. Two other sculpted bike racks have been commissioned: One is a jack-in-the-box on a spring-style bike rack, and the the other is a big-wheeled tricycle that appears to jump from one side of a bike rack to the other. All three are carved from Barre granite.

NOT STRICTLY GARGOYLES: Canadian word-watcher (actually, “word spy”) Paul McFedries flagged “parasite building” as a new phrase that has entered the lexicon. He defines it as “a small building or structure that has been added to an existing, larger building, particularly when the styles of the two structures are noticeably different.” Maybe like the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto?