Historic Church on Long Street Demolished
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- May 18, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #372223
I agree with jawjack187. I am steeped in a lot of deluded fictional romantic nostalgia in my sputtering adult ADD brain, but I think the sentiment is important in this case.
Old buildings are sometimes dangerous nasty things. The new development may not be some amazing futuristic carbon-fiber mobius strip tower you can’t quite focus on from the shininess, but we’d simply probably have to hunt for a square corner on what was there.
I happen to live in a place from the early 40’s, and it is cool and storied. Those stories started somewhere, and that doesn’t always have to be the past. I’m sure the place will live on through pictures, and the odd person saying “you know, here there used to be” for some time, but lets get excited about going forward, I think.May 18, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm #372224
My aunt is a longtime member of 2nd Baptist Church and she told me the inside story on this some time ago. Apparently their former pastor and the congregation parted ways acrimoniously. Prior to his leaving he made quite a number of questionable purchases that the church wasn’t able to afford, most notably Centenary.
The incoming church leadership did their best to sell or even give away the property but there were no takers. The city came down pretty hard on them about the safety issues, and it would have taken an estimated $3 million to renovate it properly.
I think this is a very sad day for the KLD, but the current leadership of Second Baptist is not (as suggested by the link from the BNA) to blame –they inherited an untenable situation.May 19, 2010 1:10 am at 1:10 am #372225
I don’t think this is a case of not ‘locking in the past’, but more of poor planning and judgement. I can appreciate the value of palimpsest, but I think this one fell under the radar while we obsessed about casinos.May 19, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am #372226
As an example of a different fate – at Griggs Reservoir, there is the “Dam Keeper’s House” which is a solid old stone house far older than the dam. I don’t know when it was last occupied, or used for anything. Over the years it declined more and more, with holes in the roof and no doors or windows. I photographed it when it was overgrown in brush, for fear that it would soon be demolished.
By pleasant surprise, the City decided to stabilize it. Now the brush is gone, there’s a new roof, and it’s at least well boarded up and secured. As far as I know, it’s just a stone shell inside, maybe it still has floors.
I’ve asked about its intended future use, and the parks officials haven’t had an answer. But I’m glad at least that it wasn’t lost, like the cracked stone amphitheatre nearby, which is overgrown and fenced off as a short-term fix.
Here’s a gallery from 2004:May 19, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm #372227
Reminds me of a church in Philly that they razed for new condos.
It was an old Catholic church so it had a rectory and school and nunnery (place where the nuns stayed, is that the right term?). So it was a very big compound.
When it was demolished the Philly Archdiocese sent a priest to oversee the demolition and make sure some of the sacred items where dealt with appropriately. One item that they insisted be saved was the cross and Jesus in the church.
Rumor is (and each telling gets better)they did a poor job. When they were removing the supports on the cross the top came loose prematurely. The cross came off the wall flipping upside down and was shortly thereafter broken in half. The church had a conniption.
The condos buildings built on the ground have had all sorts of problems with equipment breaking (some say in half). The project is only half completed and being such a christian community very few sold.
[disclaimer: Like I said, it gets better with each telling. Most likely the housing market falling in 2008 had more to do with the places not selling. It has grown to Urban Legend mythical status.
However, the developer did admit that the cross was taken down ‘incorrectly’ and broke in half]
It’s still a cool urban story.
Philly being one of the oldest places has a LOT. The Eastern State Penitentiary that housed Al Capone and the state mental institution have even better stories.May 19, 2010 1:02 pm at 1:02 pm #372228
I will say, it’s always oddly uncomfortable for me to see the inner sanctum of a church rudely exposed to the exterior elements. A bit like seeing a lady looking dishabille.
Although I suppose by demolition time the whole thing has been “desanctified”, and I suppose for the unreligious it’s probably not a big deal.
Just something about all the memories and dreams and heartaches of all kinds of people in that space over the years, just residing in that space somehow.May 19, 2010 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #372229
Just drove past the remnants of this building today. Have to say the deconstructed building fits in well with the neighborhood. Between the bars on windows and doors, boarded up windows and rusted chains / padlocks on gates it’s quite apropos.
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