Bethany Lutheran Church at 401 Martin St. had been a staple on the community for over 175 years, first across the street (at the current cemetery), before building its longtime home in 1873. The church held its last service in November of last year, leaving the fate of the building up in the air. Before we get to the news, let’s cruise to the charming hamlet to get a better look at the surrounding area in what may be our favorite fly-over yet.

As for the news? A zoning permit was just issued for the RSD-1 zoned site, with plans indicating a shift to residential – specifically 14 units which will assumedly be housed within the current structure. This building is individually designated within the newly-anointed Victorian Roxborough historic district, meaning that any changes to the facade will have to be approved by the Historical Commission. As a walk around the grounds shows, this is definitely a structure worthy of being saved.

Looking SW down Martin St. at the former church
A closer look shows off the stonework
Windows and other historical details appear to be in surprisingly good shape
The view from Pechin St.
A look at the charming architecture next door
We can already envision an updated side yard for residents

Admittedly, details are scant for this conversion, but the bones of the building are most certainly there. Beyond the sturdy look of the exterior – and its seemingly impeccable condition – the interior also holds some rather impressive details. While some of the interior looks very much like an old basement, wood trim, stained glass, and gorgeous ceiling details add a charm that simply doesn’t exist in new construction today. We aren’t sure the practicality of saving everything, but boy oh boy, could we see some dramatic units in this space.

The main church offers a grand entrance
A look in the opposite direction, with the balconies providing an impressive view
A look from the balcony showcases even more window work
The ceiling also provides plenty of architectural flair

Again, we have no clue how much of the interior will be preserved, as the Historical Commission’s jurisdiction only goes as far as the facade in this instance. We’d imagine the original details would be a major selling point, so we hope as many as possible are saved and incorporated into the final design. It is clear from the many projects close by that this neighborhood is becoming even more of a draw as time goes on.