North Philly Church Rehab Underway

St. Simeon Episcopal Church. Photo by Rachel Hildebrandt

The massive 1889 St. Simeon Episcopal Church at the corner of 9th Street and Lehigh Avenue is being rehabilitated. The long-vacant, crumbling building seemed an unlikely candidate for rehabilitation. Fortunately, neither the building’s size nor its condition deterred the Washington, DC-based denomination called “Church of the Living God, Column and Pillar of Truth, Light of the World” from purchasing it. The congregation, which acquired the adjoined church and school in 2010 for $310,000, hopes to complete work by 2013.

About the author

Rachel Hildebrandt, a graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a senior program manager at Partners for Sacred Places.



6 Comments


  1. Great news that it be used for something close to its original purpose!

  2. I did a search on my childhood church of St. Simeons Episcopal Church Philadelphia PA and was SO PLEASED to see that someone/group has purchased the property and is doing the good work to rehab this beautiful church to its former glory.
    My next hope is that next church that I attended and since left will not go the way of St. Simeons (in the past) but perhaps if it closes, the same thing will happen and it will become a “shining light on Frankford Avenue” again for all to see and enjoy. St. Marks Frankford is a beautiful, historic and old building that needs help but it has not been cared for due to apathy and lack of funds. If this church were put on a historic register it may have a chance…..and the history there is amazing. St. Marks needs attention and the space/building is just beautiful. The neighborhood needs it. The future of the neighborhood needs it. I feel bad if those left will just “let it go” like other churches all over the city.
    I will keep track of the progress at St. Simeons– and rejoice in its rehab, the people who chose it to repair and keep going, and the people that will have a good place for their families to go and worship an enjoy.

  3. What has become of this property? Cannot find any updates regarding the rehab. Also, I have many momentous, pictures, of the original saint Simeon’s church from late 1780’s and early 1900’s.

    • The rehab was completed from what I can tell. The trim in very bright colors! Not exactly what the old Episcopal congregation would have done, but it appears to be in good shape. I’m sure Michael Krasulski who runs the excellent Philadelphia Studies blog would be eager to see the materials you mention:
      https://philadelphiastudies.org/about/

      • My second Great Grandparents were married here in 1892, I stopped to see the church a few weeks ago and was so happy to find the new church members working on restoring the church. It needs so much work. Its in shambles, they are working so hard on it. They took me on a tour through the church. I wish I was able to post pics on here for those who are interested.

  4. Would love to see pictures of church former glory.

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