In the early 20th century, the original 1885 columns at the chancel (with pointed, Gothic arches) were thickened and transformed into curved, Romanesque arches, for unknown reasons. The decorative painting on the arches and surrounding the altar were covered, and the plaster walls throughout the church were incised to mimic limestone blocks. For decades, parishioners have expressed a desire to restore the 1885 arches and decorative paint.
The current renovation will restore the columns’ original slender shapes and make them match all the other pointed arches at the windows. The higher arches and thinner columns should give a more spacious look to the chancel area. The original brick columns will be re-plastered, with column capitals restored to their original shape as in the photo “Arches 1900.” Plaster throughout the church will be restored to its original smooth finish without the fake limestone incisions. Plans for restoration of the original decorative painting on the arches and behind the altar are not included in the current plans, except for a contrasting color to delineate the restored arches’ shapes. Investigations continue to discover the original 1887 paint colors as plaster is exposed during construction.