Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Lady of Pompeii Lives

Earlier this week, the Project wrote about the former Our Lady of Pompeii, at 6th & Erie, and asserted that the building had been destroyed in the wake of its Year of Hell closure.

Some readers asserted otherwise. Turns out, they are right.

My initial
map-and-photo surveys of area turned up nothing that struck me as a former Catholic church, so I wrote the place off as having met its match at the business end of a bulldozer. But Pompeii, unlike its famous namesake city, was not so easily run out of town.

Proof is provided by a recent photo by Project fan Bill--


--and by the book Images of America: Italians of Philadelphia, which has a similar picture and confirms that the church in question is indeed the former Pompeii.

What can I say? We do make mistakes from time to time. And you can't blame us, really. That does look more Protestant than anything else. But we know better than anyone that not all old architecture is great, so...shame on us.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, there's no Long Goodbye for Pompeii. It was Caveat Emptor'd into the Solomon Baptist Church. Their site has an animated portion in the upper left-hand corner that briefly shows an interior shot of the church. It's hard to tell much, but it doesn't appear as if the place was pimped into oblivion--unlike unfortunate neighbor St. Stephen.

11 comments:

  1. "Images of America: Italians of Philadelphia"

    One of my best friends is the author of that book.

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  2. Never seeks to amaze me how, when we were kids, we were told how bad Protestants (and Jews) were and that we should never set foot in a Protestant Church or synagogue.

    But since 1972 the Archdiocese has done nothing but sell its buildings to Protestant congregations -- Saint Anthony's in Grays Ferry (1889-1999) is yet another example. It's now Saint Matthew's Baptist Church.

    I guess it's better than letting the building sit and rot....Our Lady of Mercy, Transfiguration, St. Boniface......

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  3. Thank you for mentioning my book. I was glad to be able to confirm that the building on Erie Avenue was, indeed, that of the former Italian National Parish of Our Lady of Pompeii.

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  4. Does anybody know anything about the history of Our Lady of Pompeii? My grandparents were married in the church and I think my grandfather paid for some of the windows.

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  5. When I was eighteen yrs. old worked construction on the church steeple !(Pompeii) I am now 68yrs old ! Went to school @ st. Veronicas @ 6th and tioga. Played drums in the Old Randolph Social club ! The neighborhood now makes me angry to see the destruction of the PTC and the old Centry movie theater for 16 cents is now I think a Laundrymat ! Wow, sorry to see the downgrade of the area !If you go there carry a pistol and a pit bull !

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    1. I grew up in that neighborhood during the 40's and 50's. Went to Pompeii mass every Sunday and remember the Nun's convent and the Rectory between Marshall and 7th on Erie. Good memories. As teenagers, we would normally go to the little church (downstairs), especially midnight mass at Christmas. As real shame about the neighborhood. My Dad was still there until 2000, when he was hit by a car and died as a result. It was hard to watch the neighborhood become what it has.

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  6. Loved the old neighborhood,Also went to Cardinal Dougherty High ! Worked @ 5th and Erie (Deans Pharmacy)and 5th and Glenwood (Joe Ferkos ) drug store ! Loved pulling the trolley poles off the wire and playing on the Pennsylvania railroad !Had to fight a lot to keep your lunch money !

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  7. I can go on and on about Pompeii... most of us thought we would get married and live in our neighborhood... but Temple Hosp had different views on that and that was the beginning of the end for such a great area. We were in such a prime location to travel to any area of city... we had the best of restaurants yes and so many mom and pop variety stores, bakeries and even Alosi's where you were able to go watch them make rolls and loaves of bread buy some pizza dough etc and how about Babe's Cheesesteaks, and the fresh seafod at Boothbee's and at Mike Micucci's, the infamous Charlie's if you wanted your pie boxed they charged 5 cents.. our own movie theatre, shopping on Germantown Ave, how about all the bowling alleys we had, we were a world within a world, we needed nothing from the outside world, we had it all, a park that we could go and picnic on the holidays with fireworks... we had chocolate factories, Pontarelli Flower Shop, Aida's, Peditto's, Spasiano's, Ferrocco's we were able to go there not only for Pizza but to get our Ice Skates sharpened .. again we had it all...the wrought iron railings my dad made for us and our neighbors are still there and I am sure somewhere in the sewers of Marshall and Butler there are still pimple balls from all games played on that corner. In our hearts we all say "Pomepii Forever" or for a brief time as a cheerleader when we had a football team.... you could hear us yell at Hunting Park Pompeii All the Way .... the greatest neighborhood any kid could have grown up in and wow what great memories.

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  8. Attended Pompeii for 7th and 8th grade. Lived on Front Street and Tioga but since I was Italian, I could not attend St. Hughes (Irish school). Took trolley to school everyday and had lunch at Neri's across the street. Attended 1968 and 1969. Great school. Learn discipline unlike today.

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    1. I also attended Pompeii in 1968 and 69. My last name is Bacci. Do you remember that name. What is yours.

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