There’s No Beauty Like St. Bonaventure

 

Editor’s Note: Beautiful churches sitting vacant and decaying are a dime a dozen in Philly–almost literally. Yet the most exceptional structures still manage to bob to the surface and command our attention. A few years ago Church of the Assumption on Spring Garden Street became the focus of preservationists and the surrounding community. And right now, few buildings are as lovely–and compelling–as the the former St. Bonaventure Catholic church in Fairhill. The building at Ninth and Cambria was erected in 1894, and designed by noted architect Edwin Forrest Durang. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed the church in 1993 and sold the building 1997 to a congregation that lacked the resources to care for it. The church has suffered from more than a decade of neglect since then.  Scrappers have torn off large chunks of copper flashing on the roof, causing significant water damage, some of the masonry is falling and…we’ll have an expanded story on this vulnerable building in coming days. For now, Chandra Lampreich’s images will do.

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

dsc_0093

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

About the author

Chandra Lampreich became interested in photography in high school, and then continued her training at Antonelli Institute where she received an associates degree in photography. She specializes in architecture photography, and has a passion for shooting old, dilapidated buildings. Her photographs can be seen on Flickr here.



6 Comments


  1. I remember it well many years back when it was in beautiful condition and was beautifully used.

  2. beautiful pictures . such a grand church being eaten away by the elements and urban decay . so sad indeed

  3. Chandra Lampreich has managed to capture her ceiling images and turning them into beautiful abstract pieces of art, even at this stage of the church’s deterioration.

  4. Awesome pics, Chandra! Love your work!!

  5. Great pictures of a truly beautiful church. It would be tragic to see this demolished.

  6. Stunning photography!

Trackbacks

  1. Future Darkening For St. Bonaventure | Hidden City Philadelphia
Recent Posts
Coda For Mayor Street’s NTI

Coda For Mayor Street’s NTI

March 5, 2015  |  Morning Blend

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority considers the last budget for the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, Squilla seeks rezoning of mill in Kensington, can Philly become a video game mecca, and entertaining thoughts of a Business Improvement District for the Italian Market > more

Peering Ahead To A New Festival Pier

Peering Ahead To A New Festival Pier

March 4, 2015  |  Morning Blend

What the DRWC’s redevelopment of Festival Pier would entail, Streets Commission considers ways to fund rebuilding of 78 retaining walls, creative infill in Poplar, and PMA to bring art to East Passyunk > more

On Front Street, A Warehouse With A Sacred Past Seeks Salvation

On Front Street, A Warehouse With A Sacred Past Seeks Salvation

March 4, 2015  |  Vantage

Kensington was once home to generations of Presbyterians and their houses of worship peppered the neighborhood. One of the denomination's oldest surviving churches in the area was just put up for sale after being used as a building supply warehouse since the 1950s. Oscar Beisert digs deep into the former lives of Second Associate Presbyterian and unearths a strong case for preservation > more

Claiming Fraud, Owner Of Metropolitan Opera House Seeks To Dissolve Ties To Eric Blumenfeld

Claiming Fraud, Owner Of Metropolitan Opera House Seeks To Dissolve Ties To Eric Blumenfeld

March 3, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Church group says developer misrepresented himself, a transatlantic discussion for the Lehigh Viaduct’s reuse, Maxfield Tower completed in Fairmount, and nearly 4 million PA residents at risk in event of “bomb train” derailment > more

The Costs Of Selling Schools

The Costs Of Selling Schools

March 2, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Why the City only sees two-thirds of profits from selling its inventory of vacant schools, a call for subsidized transportation for students, funding ready for South Philly art installation, urban poverty as everyone’s problem, and Council Districts’ most dangerous intersections > more

The Toughest Little Hut In Logan Square

The Toughest Little Hut In Logan Square

March 2, 2015  |  The Shadow Knows

Development of the lot at 20th and Arch has been cursed since the Kahn Building was demolished in 1929, only 8 years after its construction. Ironically, an easy to miss, colorful little Gulf Oil station has survived at the spot for 85 years--long enough to be placed on the Philadelphia Register. The Shadow serves up a big slice of history on this heartening little hut > more