19th Street Baptist Church Hoping for Salvation

A few years ago, we brought the 19th Street Baptist Church, located on the corner of 19th & Titan, to your attention. At that time, the unique and beautiful edifice was crumbling due to a combination of age, bad weather, and poor upkeep. L&I had posted the building with a violation, suggesting that the building could be demolished if its immediate problems were not corrected. Fortunately, according to Plan Philly, the church received assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation Alliance, and former mayor Wilson Goode to perform the necessary roof repairs.

The church

Demolition has been staved off, but the church still isn't out of the woods. As you can see in the photo above, the building is quite striking but in need of significant restoration. A sign outside decribes the building's history and suggests that preservation efforts are underway.

Sign on the site

Closeup of the sign

The church was originally built as the Memorial Church of the Holy Comforter in 1874-75. The High Victorian building was designed by Furness & Hewitt, and its most notable feature is the use of green serpentine for much of the facade. The current congregation moved here in 1944, and the building has served as an important fixture in the community for decades. Unfortunately, without an influx of significant funds, this building remains in danger. Plan Philly estimates the restoration costs to be between two and three million dollars.

With that in mind, the congregation along with other interested parties have formed the 19th Street Baptist Church Restoration Project group which is set up to take donations. They're not taking donation online as of yet but if you visit the site linked above there are instructions to mail in a donation if you're so inclined. Surely, it will be a tough road ahead to raise the necessary funds but we really hope that the effort is successful. It would be a terrible shame for Point Breeze to lose this dramatic archtiectural landmark.