Photos: Chandra Lampreich
Exterior ground work and excavation continue at Griscom and Orthodox Streets in Frankford, where the former Frankford Central United Methodist Church, owned by the non-profit community developer Frankford Group Ministry, is being demolished. This leaves another hole in the already torn fabric of central Frankford, which has suffered from fractured community leadership in recent years.
The late 19th century Romanesque church, with its distinctive tower, last housed FGM programs in 2009. When the west wall caved in August, vandals stole some stained glass. Recently, little has been touched or cleaned up and environmental abatement hasn’t yet begun.
Nathaniel Popkin contributed to this story.
This was one of Hazlehurst and Huckel’s four great Romanesque Revival churches. the most famous of which is Mother Bethel, others being Jones Tabernacle on Diamond Street (originally Union ME) and First M.E. in Trenton. First ME in Trenton survives only as a facade. Mother Bethel was a take-off on Union ME. H&H published all except Mother Bethel, the one they’re most known for now. So sad.
Meant to include links to the pics H&H published in their monographs:
Are they tearing down the whole complex? I forgot about the Akron Plan Sunday School! the 6th pic
I think just the church…?
According to the Frankford Historical Society, which sits on the same block as the church, everything is slated for demolition, including the Akron Plan sunday school. It was designed c. 1912 by Sterns and Castor.
Chandra and Nathaniel, If possible, I would love to include your story and photos in our Newsletter (Historic St. George’s UMC); we are the archives for the Eastern PA Conference of the Methodist Church and I would like to highlight the fate of this building. Give me a call at 215-925-7788.
Everything is coming down because all of the individual buildings shared walls internally. Some of the windows were salvaged after others were stolen. The windows on the Griscom Street side were still in place when demo began last week. That wall looks compromised and that might be why those windows had not yet been removed. You can see our story and video at this link. http://frankfordgazette.com/2012/03/07/demolition-begins/
I don’t think they are salvaging anything, I went by to check it out myself and there isn’t a professional demolition company hired and there was NO abatement done inside. I think they are tearing it down quickly without doing everything they are supposed to do.
Where are all the good people of the Frankford Historical Society? Why didn’t they try to do something to maintain the heritage this section of the city is so quickly losing?
There was not much to salvage. We removed 150 stained glass panels and there are in storage. The two large window could not be saved. But pictures were taken before any removal took place.
The entire building is comming down, I live just down the street for this church.
It sickens me enough that these beautiful houses of worship are being destroyed and are irreplaceable. But as an organist, organ historian, and organ builder…seeing this instrument wantonly destroyed sickens, frustrates, and angers me to my very core. What about the organ clearing house? What about asking local regional builders to help find a home for it? What about giving it to one of them so it could at least provide music for someone else? What a wretched throw-away society we are! *sigh*