Adiós, St. Boniface

Photo: Wojo Photo – Chamyang Unkow

A perfect storm: church leadership that can’t manage its considerable assets, community development corporations that lack means and funding (and too often vision) to adapt them, and a dysfunctional preservation apparatus without power or capacity to do anything about it.

Despite repeated attempts by the Daily, officials of the Norris Square Civic Association won’t reveal what the organization has planned for the site (despite the use of public community development dollars), we’re very certain it won’t be as muscular or beautiful or meaningful as this great church, beloved by so many who grew up in the neighborhood. Adiós, St. Boniface.

Photo: Wojo Photo – Chamyang Unkow

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.


  1. Low income housing is planned, so the neighborhood can stay forever poor.

  2. Dresden?

  3. “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”

    Haunting, yet beautiful photos, Wojo. You have a keen eye.

  4. Lawrence Aberle

    Some shots I got from the inside during demolition:

    • Well this hard to read image is almost 2 years old. It would be much preferable if the NSCA would just reveal what it’s planning. We’ve contacted the architect and NSCA and no one wants to share. What are they hiding?

  5. Another “Penn Station” NYC bites the dust. When will they ever learn???


  1. St. Boniface is all but gone, Central United Methodist Church on its way down
  2. St. Boniface Demolition

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