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Vintage Phoenix Artifact: Sagrado Corazón

Trapped behind chain-link and beneath the flight pattern of nearby Sky Harbor International Airport, Sacred Heart Church is all that remains of the once-glorious Golden Gate Barrio, the Mexican-American neighborhood demolished in the '70s to make room for the ever-expanding airport.

The church, erected in 1956, is a red brick stunner. Its arched entryway is capped by a circular portal, its rounded steeple topped with patinaed copper and steel. It's an important, historically listed building, and therefore can't be torn down — yet the city appears to have no immediate plans for it.

Barrio residents were evicted from the area in the '80s, thanks to eminent domain laws that allow the city to acquire private land for public use, and which can give property owners the boot in return for cash. Original plans to bulldoze Sagrado Corazón were scrapped when concerned citizens squeaked the church onto the National Historic Property Register in 2007.

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There's since been talk of building a cultural center around the existing church, and rumors of a historical museum on the site. But thus far, none of the proposed plans for the abandoned building have been approved by the city.

Although a new, adobe-style Sagrado Corazón has been erected just south of the original, its parishioners celebrate Christmas mass each year at the old church, where they gather to remember the long-gone barrio and, perhaps, to pray that the city will spare this last remaining artifact of their collective past.

 
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dora.marie.duarte.52
dora.marie.duarte.52

I GREW UP IN THIS MEXICAN AMERICAN BARRIO. I LIVED ACROSS FROM FONGS STORE. WE PLAYED KICK THE CAN, RAN WITHOUT WORRIES OF BEING KIDNAP, WE WALKED TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY. WE HANGED OUT AT THE CHURCH WHEN THERE WHERE WEDDINGS, QUIENCENERAS, WE COLLECT BOTTLES IN A RED WAGON, TURNED THEM IN AT FONGS FOR 10¢. I ATTENDED GOLDEN GATE PRESCHOOL. WE WALKED TO LEROYS STORE. WE WERE ALL OVER THE GOLDEN GATE AREA LIKE THE LITTLE RASCALS. I WATCH THE OLDER BARRIO KIDS PLAY BASKET BALL IN THE GOLDEN GATE GYM. BEING A MEXICAN DIDN'T MATTER....WE HARDLY SEEN POLICE OFFICERS IN THE BARRIOS NO NEED THESE WHERE BEA•U•TIFUL TIMES... ALL THE KIDS IN THE BARRIO KNEW EACH OTHER... ABEL HIS BROTHERS THE BERNALS HANGED OUT AT GOLDEN GATE GYM. THANKFUL THAT OUR CHURCH SECRET HEART IS BEING PROTECTED. THE PLANES WERE HUGE DAD TOOK US TO SEE THEM LAND AND TAKE OFF. I ALSO HANGED OUT WITH MORMANS THEY WERE KOOL PICKED US UP IN VAN. THIS BARRIO WAS HOME SWEET HOME. GOT SICK WHEN WE MOVED. DAD BROUGHT HOME A RETIRED POLICE DOG GERMAN. HE DID GET SOME GUY UNDER MY DADS STATION WAGON... WHEN POLICE CHASED HIM TO OUR HOME. 18 TH STREET SHERMAN. WHEN I MET THE FIRST POLICE OFFICER IT WAS EXCITTING. TO WALK ACROSS BUCKEYE TO ATTEND SKIFF ELEM..I LET MY SISTER HAND..RAN PASS OUR FIREHOUSE UNTIL ROSA CAUGHT UP TO ME..I WANTED TO GO TO GOLDEN GATE FOR SCHOOL.. SWEET...MEMORIES...

 
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