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.



10 Comments


  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:
    goo.gl/jX63E

    • 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???

Trackbacks

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

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Shaping A New Urban Crossroads At 33rd And Chestnut

Shaping A New Urban Crossroads At 33rd And Chestnut

January 18, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest stands at the confluence of Penn and Drexel's campuses where a once listless intersection is being redefined with energy, connectivity, and strategic design > more

The Best Seats In The City, Ban Be Damned

The Best Seats In The City, Ban Be Damned

January 16, 2017  |  Buzz

Last week Friends of Rittenhouse Square and PPR announced a ban from sitting on the interior walls of the park. Two days later Mayor Jim Kenney reversed the rule. We take a look at life along the balustrades in these old photos > more

Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

January 13, 2017  |  Last Light

The demolition composites of photographer Andrew Evans beguile the eye with ghostly images of a city passing through time. Evans presents his newest additions to the series and explains his process with this photo essay > more

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

January 11, 2017  |  Vantage

The deserted industrial site of Pencoyd Iron Works is next on a growing list of riverside redevelopment along the Schuylkill. Contributor Mick Ricereto takes us deep inside the history of the family-owned foundry and farmland that dates back to the city's founding > more

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

January 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Traditional carousel design may have roots in Europe, but "Philadelphia Style" took the amusement ride to a whole new level. The Shadow takes a stroll down Germantown Avenue where the G.A. Dentzel Carousel Company became the gold standard in animal kingdom merry-go-rounds > more

Lost Buildings Of 2016

Lost Buildings Of 2016

December 30, 2016  |  Vantage

That cheery, time-honored tradition: the year-end list. Here on the Daily, that means a roundup of the year's demolitions in our World Heritage City. Brad Maule finds 2016's list warrants more than just a top ten > more