A New Year, A New Demolition In Pennsport

 

The former Greenwich Street Church, currently being demolished for two single-family homes | Photo: Christopher Mote

The former Greenwich Street Church, currently being demolished for two single-family homes, seen from Tasker Street | Photo: Christopher Mote

Demolition has begun on Greenwich Street Church, a former worship site and Sunday school for Presbyterians and later a temple for Buddhist monks, in Pennsport.

The modest building at 240 Greenwich Street is being cleared to make way for two single-family homes, a spokesperson for Landmark Architectural Design confirmed. Although the development has yet to be finalized, the church lot is over 11,000 square feet in size, which suggests homes that will have a larger-than-average footprint and/or make abundant use of the property’s open space.

No permits for new construction have been granted for the property. The owner on the deed, Leah Tartaglia, is a member of the Olivieri family of Pat’s King of Steaks fame, and the widow of Joe Tartaglia, whose family operates Connie’s Ric Rac, a performance venue on Ninth Street’s Italian Market.

"Greenwich Street Church, Greenwich and Tasker" | Image from The Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1895

“Greenwich Street Church, Greenwich and Tasker” | Image from The Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1895

The original chapel was erected in 1866 and initially used as a Sunday school by members of the Third Presbyterian Church (still active today as Old Pine Street Church in Society Hill). In December 1867, the chapel was organized for worship by the Fourth Presbytery of Philadelphia and became known as Greenwich Street Church.

The building was enlarged in 1880 and given its extant gothic façade. At one time, the western tower held a steeple that rose to 100 feet. The church property also boasted 200 feet of gardening space between Greenwich and Tasker Streets, as William P. White and William H. Scott observed in an 1895 survey of the city’s Presbyterian churches and institutions.

In 1987, the church was converted into Khmer Palelai Buddhist Temple to serve South Philadelphia’s burgeoning Cambodian population. Khmer Palelai vacated the property with the opening of its new monastery in Southwest Philadelphia, which it began building in 2011 after owning the land for a decade. Coincidentally, Landmark also drew up the designs for the temple that is under construction at the site at 58th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard.

Pennsport Civic Association did not receive nor require notification of the demolition, president James Moylan said in an email. “To my knowledge, the plan for this property requires no variances,” he said. “If that should change, the developer would be required to contact us. If no variances are required they can start work without any communication with the civic association.”

About the author

Christopher Mote covers stories of preservation, planning, zoning and development. He lives in South Philadelphia and has a special fondness for brownstone churches and mansard roofs.

Send him a message at: motecw[at]hotmail[dot]com



1 Comment


  1. Danielle Olivieri

    also there was a Church bell that belonged to the original church that the Monks stole from us, since it belonged to the church and not to them.

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
In Belmont, The Making Of A

In Belmont, The Making Of A “City Of Villas”

January 20, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Joshua Bevan takes us on an architectural tour of Belmont, where the origins and growth of the neighborhood can still be read in its distinctive homes > more

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