We were making our way across town on Wharton Street yesterday and spied a zoning notice at 1253-55 S. 18th St., a building that's been home to a church for many years. The sign on the building is actually pretty small, but some brick detail on the facade makes the use of the building quite clear, even if you can't make out what the sign says.
From the looks of it, this property could have once been a pair of rowhomes which were combined to give the church the room it required. But the history of the property was likely not a priority for the developers who purchased the property last year for $160K. Last month, they went to the ZBA with plans for two homes on this parcel, ostensibly fronting 18th Street, and they got the necessary approval. We expect demolition will take place in the near future and construction will follow soon after.
We've seen many churches torn down over the last few years, and we typically lament the loss of architectural character that springs from such an act. From a purely architectural standpoint, nobody will miss this building. This is especially true when you consider that there are some really impressive churches across the street.
On the southeast corner, we see the Friendship Baptist Church. We would be sad indeed if we ever hear of a proposal to tear down this wonderful building. Ditto the St. Barnabas United Methodist Church on the 1800 block of Wharton Street. The True Way Church of Christ on the northwest corner is more like the building that will soon be demolished in that it's clearly a combination of two former row homes, but you've got to admire the building's intact cornice. Hopefully, these three congregations will thrive in the coming years and none of their buildings will face the propect of demolition.