It was over two years ago that we first told you that the Ruffin Nichols Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and school at 11th & Mount Vernon were under contract with a developer. As the months went on, we tracked the demolition of these lovely buildings with a twinge of disappointment, wishing that the new owners could have come up with a way to save and reuse the attractive buildings. The demolition took a very long time and experienced extended pauses until the buildings were finally gone this past November.

In the past

Small remnant of the church

Passing by the other day, we discovered that work has begun on the project that will replace the stately church and school buildings. Three foundations are currently in the ground, and eight more will soon follow. According to the L&I Map, there are plans here for eleven new buildings, including four single family homes and seven duplexes. The homes will front Mount Vernon and Wallace Streets, while the duplexes will front 11th Street. A drive aisle will run between the two named streets, with one-car parking for the single-family homes and two-car parking for the duplexes.

Three new foundations

New site plan

The homes are designed by Harman Deutsch, and represent a very good use for a very large piece of land. We're pleased to see this kind of density coming to this corner, though we again regret that the church came down to accomodate the project. Hopefully, some architectural elements of the new homes will pay tribute to the missing church, though we're not sure how exactly that could be appropriately executed. As the project progresses, we'll be sure to check back, crossing our fingers.