As we sit here on Good Friday, we have news about another church that’s slated to be demolished in order to feed the ever-hungry development monster. The newest House of God on the outs is St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, according to Hidden City. The church, located on the northwest corner of 3rd & Reed, was built before 1895, and closed last month.
Hidden City tells us that a salvage crew was on the site last month, preserving pews and the like for reuse in another church or perhaps a yet unopened gastropub. In the coming months, the building will be demolished, and Passyunk Post shares that twelve new homes will rise in its place. This will mark the third large new townhome development to come to light in this neighborhood this month. You…
Demolishing churches and replacing them with new construction has been a common practice for developers in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood over the past few years. Mount Olive AME, Metropolitan AME and others have faced the wrecking ball, as dwindling local congregations have led to churches moving to new locales or simply dissolving. The loss of these buildings is significant, as they provided architectural diversity to an increasingly homogenous neighborhood, and also presented a link to the neighborhood’s past.
Metropolitan AME being demolished
Last week, at the SOSNA zoning meeting, developers presented a proposal for yet another church demolition, this time at the southwest corner of 19th & Catharine. We took a look at this very intersection just a couple of weeks ago, wondering about the long-vacant property on the northwest corner.
It’s been a year or so since the Ruffin Nichols Memorial AME Church at 11th & Mr. Vernon was put under contract, and two months since we reported that it was falling down of its own accord. Now, the new owners are actively demolishing the structure, apparently with plans for fourteen condos and four town homes for the site.
In the past
Demolition is proceeding at a snail’s pace, but when we swung by the church the other day, we were able to catch a glimpse of the interior that is certainly not long for this world.
We’re obviously a pro-development lot, and we understand that the church apparently had some serious structural issues. But it still bums us out big time to see a gorgeous building like this come down.
Almost a year ago, we told you that the Ruffin Nichols Memorial AME Church at 11th and Wallace was under contract. At the time, we speculated that the lovely building could possibly be torn down by its new owners. We were in the neighborhood today and it seems that the church, which officially sold back in December for just over $600K, is starting to tear itself down.
In the past
We did a lap around the building and didn’t see any demolition equipment at the site. Plus, plywood is covering a few of the window openings, which would seem like a counterintuitive step for a developer simply planning to take down the building. We can only guess that some structural problem created the scene pictured above.
Does anybody know what happened here and when? Might somebody…
Last week, when we were snapping photos of demolition in preparation for the massive MJL development at 19th and Poplar Sts., we noticed 878 N 19th St., a gorgeous old brownstone that’s gotten some unfortunate plastic surgery in recent years.
Tree in the way
We thought that perhaps this resulted from damage caused by the demolition of the church next door, but this was definitely not the case. As you can see below, it was like this before the church came down.
Two years ago
One thing is clear- it mars the face of what is otherwise a very attractive old building. Does anybody want to suggest why someone thought that this might be a good idea?
Earlier this year, we told you about a proposed development on the northeast corner of 19th and Fitzwater Sts., where the building occupied by the Mt. Olive AME Church has stood for over a century. As we told you at the time, the developer who recently purchased the church proposed demolishing it, and replacing it with five new construction single-family with parking. Here’s a look at the church from a few months ago:
In the past
The developer received approval from the ZBA a few weeks back, and demolition began this week. Take a look:
Looking through the trees
Unobstructed view of the carnage in progress
Slightly different angle
Pile of twisted metal
View from the east