A 119-year-old Massachusetts church that had been slated for demolition almost 10 years ago was saved by a local preservation society—but now no one can find the 1.5-ton gargoyles that used to grace its exterior. Officials for Preservation Worcester, the city's Historical Commission, and Liberty Church are baffled how the enormous structures could have simply disappeared from the building's basement, where they were said to have been stored while the church was undergoing construction in 2006, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. And, thanks, to incomplete records, no one knows how many gargoyles are missing or how big they actually were.
The church—a small-scale model of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral—was set to be razed in 2004, but the preservation group worked with new owners to prevent that from happening. However, the church wasn't up to safety code and two towers had to be knocked down, so the gargoyles were reportedly stored in the cellar for safekeeping during the ongoing restoration. But when the preservation society went in for its annual inspection this year, it realized the gargoyles weren't there anymore; members believe a construction company that's now out of business took them out and that they may have mistakenly been put up for auction when the company's assets were appropriated. While everyone's on the hunt for the MIA grotesques, one commission member underscores the importance of getting them back for Worcester, telling the T&G that "they are sort of all of ours in a way."