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.



11 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

  8. James R. Stettner

    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*

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Developer Targets Asian Shopping Center In Next Battle For Washington Avenue

Developer Targets Asian Shopping Center In Next Battle For Washington Avenue

June 26, 2019  |  News

Hoa Binh Plaza at 16th Street and Washington Avenue has been a shopping and community hub for Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants for nearly 30 years. As real estate acquisition heats up west of Broad Street, a developer plans to raze the complex for new residential construction. Kimberly Haas has the news > more

Celebrating Rebellion: On The Picket Line With The Suffragettes Of Philadelphia

Celebrating Rebellion: On The Picket Line With The Suffragettes Of Philadelphia

June 24, 2019  |  Vantage

This month marks the 100th anniversary of Pennsylvania ratifying the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. With Independence Day fast approaching, Amy Cohen introduces us to the rebellious suffragettes that fought for equal rights in Philadelphia > more

Residents Sound Off To Land Bank Following Release Of New Report

Residents Sound Off To Land Bank Following Release Of New Report

June 21, 2019  |  News

The Philadelphia Land Bank draws anger and frustration with the release of its new strategic plan and performance report. Kimberly Haas has the details > more

Growing Pains Yield Gains For The Mütter Museum

Growing Pains Yield Gains For The Mütter Museum

June 20, 2019  |  News

The Mütter Museum, one to the country's premiere medical history museums, prepares for a major expansion with a $25 million capital campaign and designs by KieranTimberlake. Kimberly Haas has the news > more

Italian-American Heritage & Industrial Landmarks Go Under Review For Historic Designation Recommendation

Italian-American Heritage & Industrial Landmarks Go Under Review For Historic Designation Recommendation

June 17, 2019  |  News

Starr Herr-Cardillo has this roundup of local register nominations on the agenda at the June meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission's Designation Committee > more

Homeowners Pay The Price When New Construction Damages Neighboring Rows

Homeowners Pay The Price When New Construction Damages Neighboring Rows

June 14, 2019  |  News

Owners of row houses are left with little recourse when demolition and new construction causes structural damage to their homes. Starr Herr-Cardillo takes a look at a growing citywide problem > more