Over two years ago, we first brought you the news that the Ruffin Nichols Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church at 11th & Mount Vernon had been purchased by developers. At that time, we suspected that this meant the end of the building, and we were right. About a year later, part of the church had been taken down but demolition activity had ceased on the site, creating a weird situation where passersby were able to get a very unusual look inside the mostly-still-standing church.

Two years back

A year ago

Finally, over the last few months, the rest of the church was demolished. Now, the spot where the church stood for many decades is a flat dirt lot. Eventually, we understand fourteen condos and four townhomes will rise here.

Current view shows an imprint of the demolished building on the one that remains next door

Looking north

As you can see, a new building just north of the church site looks to be about finished. Over the summer, we checked in on this site right after groundbreaking, telling you that it would eventually contain seven apartments.

The new building

It’s great to see this building go up, as it fills in one of the many vacant lots in this, the “Spring Arts,” or West Poplar neighborhood. In fact, considering all the vacant land in the area, it becomes all the more of a shame that the church had to come down in the first place. Sure, an adaptive reuse would have been all kinds of tricky (and extremely expensive, to boot) but it’s another strike against architectural diversity in this neighborhood, which is generally seeing more boring buildings than not. Alas, this seems to be the price of development these days. You may not love the buildings, but they’re way better than the vacant lots most of them are replacing. At least so the thinking goes.