Vintage Phoenix Artifact: Sagrado Corazón (2013)

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.

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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