Another Church Goes In G-Ho


Demolition is underway at 19th and Fitzwater Streets as Mt. Olive AME Church is being torn down to make way for five new single family homes. As seen in the image from, the building underwent extensive renovation since 1954, stripped of its original stained glass windows, third level peaked roof and interior furnishings. The lost of the church’s character defining features sealed the fate of the building, as continual deferred maintenance led to the eventual disuse of the building. Having sat on the market for $1.2 million dollars, the proposal for new housing was approved by South of South Neighbors Association in January 2012.

About the author

Lauren Drapala works as an architectural conservator at the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2008 to earn her Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, she has been mesmerized by the wealth of architectural resources throughout the city and its surrounding districts. Continuing the research she began in her graduate work, Lauren is currently authoring a book about the 20th century interiors and decorative screens of Robert Winthrop Chanler. Learn more about this project at


  1. Thanks for this piece, Lauren.

    Another missed opportunity to do something interesting with what remained of a good building. Could have made for a great condo or apartment conversion. Did anyone save the plaque?

    Before housing an important African-American institution, this building was the Fourth United Presbyterian Church, built in 1872:

    • Lauren Drapala

      I checked with the crew that doing the demolition…the dedication plaque was given to the Union Baptist Church right across the street (thankfully!). Thanks for the link!

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