Monday, May 11, 2009

Victory for the Church of the Assumption

Sorry if you're getting fatigued with all of this Assumption coverage, but hey, it's not every day in this business that we get to celebrate any kind of a victory. Saving Assumption from demolition was a victory, albeit a small one. A true victory would have been to keep it open in the first place, but we'll take what we can get.

Here is the official letter from, once again, Andrew Palewski:

On Friday, May 8, the Philadelphia Historical Commission elected to add the Church of the Assumption to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, effectively halting its impending demolition. The successful outcome was the result of a cumulative effort on the part of many different people and organizations. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this effort, especially the 400-plus people who expressed their support by signing a petition to the Historical Commission.

I also would like to give special thanks to those who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the Church of the Assumption would not be lost. Saving the building would not have been possible without their direct support:

•The Honorable W. Curtis Thomas, Pennsylvania State Representative of the 181st Legislative District •The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia •The West Poplar Neighborhood Advisory Committee •The Callowhill Neighborhood Association •The Keely Society The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament •Emily T. Cooperman, Ph.D., ARCH Preservation Consulting •Michael J. Lewis, Ph.D, Professor of American Art and Architecture, Williams College

I would also like to thank the two co-nominators:

•C. Anne Anderson, Board of Directors, Callowhill Neighborhood Association
•Dorothy Krotzer, Director, Building Conservation Associates, Inc. Philadelphia

Saving the Church of the Assumption is a major contribution to the neighborhood, the City, and the preservation community.

Andy Palewski


So....now what?

Siloam Wellness still owns the place, so they either have to find another way to use it, or they'll follow the Project's advice and take root on one of North Philly's copious empty lots. A sale is preferable, since they've already demonstrated that they own no great loyalty to the building. It would also open the door for someone to come in and attempt a proper restoration or, at the very least, a repurposing of the church.

Keep in mind, too, that the reprieve is not necessarily absolute. Should the church become physically unstable, it may still be torn down. That's what happened to the former Our Lady of Mercy, at Broad & Susquehanna Streets. That church, which closed in 1984 and was one of the first victims of the North Philadelphia Swath of Destruction, was also placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. But after one of its crumbling spires collapsed onto Broad Street back in the 90s, the city decided that it had to go, historic protection or no, and they promptly knocked it down.

So let's celebrate, yes, but also remember: the work isn't done yet.

1 comment:

  1. There was a fire at Our Lady of Mercy.

    Set by transients.

    ReplyDelete