In West Philly, a house of God is transmitting (and receiving) wireless waves. Since at least 2011, wireless antennas have been adorning the top of the turret at St. Peter’s Church of Christ at 47th & Kingsessing, in Squirrel Hill.

The church

Look up

According to Hidden City, the structure was built as the Church of Atonement in 1900, and was designed by Furness, Evans and Company. The church is in disrepair, with violations dating back several years. Some of the glass windows are shattered. Pieces of the roof have apparently collapsed, and the surrounding yard is overgrown with grass and weeds. Earlier this year, L&I served the property with a ’30-day repair or demolish’ notice, which the owners of the property must have somehow resolved.


The blog everyday structures, maintained by a Temple grad student, wrote in March 2012 that the antennas atop the church belong to the wireless provider Clear. The blog features a number of closeups of the church’s decay, if you’re interested. If you put 4700 Kingsessing Ave., the church’s address, into Clear’s coverage maps, it looks like there is tower right there.

While this building is a little outside of our normal coverage area, we were intrigued by wireless antennas that seemed to reach up higher to the heavens than the church itself. And, in an age where it seems we’re reporting on one church demolition after another, one more church fading into physical decay seems relevant, especially considering its architect.

We know it probably isn’t feasible, but we would love to live in an old church someday. We’d build our holy kitchen where the altar used to be and convert some pews into a bed to be reckoned with.

–Lou Mancinelli