Another Hole In The City


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.

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.



10 Comments


  1. 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.

  2. Are they tearing down the whole complex? I forgot about the Akron Plan Sunday School! the 6th pic

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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/

    • Chandra Lampreich

      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.

  6. 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?

  7. Michael Mezalick

    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.
    http://www.mezalick.com

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Ghosts Of The Abandoned Arch Street Subway Line

Ghosts Of The Abandoned Arch Street Subway Line

April 18, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us into the abandoned subway tunnels below Arch Street with the history behind Philly's unfinished plans for a grand underground transit system > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Tourison Building

Unlisted Philadelphia: Tourison Building

April 17, 2018  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, an Art Deco delight fills the heart of Mount Airy > more

Old Iron Works In Logan Square To Face The Wrecking Ball

Old Iron Works In Logan Square To Face The Wrecking Ball

April 13, 2018  |  News

When the housing bubble burst and the recession hit in 2007, plans to convert Creswell Iron Works on Cherry Street into apartments tanked. The quaint collection of industrial buildings is now headed for demolition. Michael Bixler has the details > more

American Revolution Landmark To Be Auctioned Off At Sheriff Sale

American Revolution Landmark To Be Auctioned Off At Sheriff Sale

April 11, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia, News

Old stone home in Frankford with ties to the Declaration of Independence goes up for auction at a sherif sale in May. Harry K. has the news and history behind this threatened national landmark > more

Time Travel At Trader Joe's Reveals Tuxedos & Snazzy Shoes

Time Travel At Trader Joe’s Reveals Tuxedos & Snazzy Shoes

April 9, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow makes a run to Trader Joe's where fine footwear and totally awesome 1980s tuxedos kept things classy at 2121 Market Street > more

Battered Brutalist School Awaits Neighborhood Plan

Battered Brutalist School Awaits Neighborhood Plan

April 6, 2018  |  Last Light

In Eastwick, powerful architecture battles trash and vandalism at vacant George Pepper Middle School. Michael Bixler takes a look with this photo essay. > more