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

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

Rediscovering The Dead Fleet Of The Delaware River

May 23, 2017  |  Vantage

The ships of the "Dead Fleet" at Pier 78 rise at low tide from their watery graves in the Delaware River. It's a curious sight, recalling a time when the riverbanks thrummed with a booming maritime industry. Philadelphia shipping historian Robert McNulty takes us on a salty voyage to uncover the backstory of South Philadelphia's ghost ship graveyard > more

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

Building A Better Future With Bright Common

May 19, 2017  |  Vantage

Hidden City editor Michael Bixler catches up with sustainable architect Jeremy Avellino to talk climate change, deep energy retrofits, and the power of passive house building. > more

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin's Grave

Restoration Project Gives New Life To Ben Franklin’s Grave

May 17, 2017  |  News

Benjamin Franklin's tombstone gets some desperately needed TLC. Tyler Horst has the story > more

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

Summoning The Spirit Of A Victorian Masterpiece

May 15, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Gone, but not forgotten. The Shadow channels the ghost of the Henry J. Morton Guild House, a beautiful Victorian hall designed by famed Philadelphia architects Wilson Brothers & Company > more

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

The Making (And Marketing) Of The Modern Gayborhood

May 12, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Kelson Northeimer takes a look at the history of the Gayborhood and its cultural transformation through lifestyle marketing and gentrification > more

Hidden Lens: Fading Industry On The Delaware River

Hidden Lens: Fading Industry On The Delaware River

May 10, 2017  |  Hidden Lens

In this next installment of Hidden Lens, a new series showcasing the captures of local photographers, we feature the work of Betsy Manning and the final days of the Port Richmond Grain Elevator > more