There’s No Beauty Like St. Bonaventure

 

Editor’s Note: Beautiful churches sitting vacant and decaying are a dime a dozen in Philly–almost literally. Yet the most exceptional structures still manage to bob to the surface and command our attention. A few years ago Church of the Assumption on Spring Garden Street became the focus of preservationists and the surrounding community. And right now, few buildings are as lovely–and compelling–as the the former St. Bonaventure Catholic church in Fairhill. The building at Ninth and Cambria was erected in 1894, and designed by noted architect Edwin Forrest Durang. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed the church in 1993 and sold the building 1997 to a congregation that lacked the resources to care for it. The church has suffered from more than a decade of neglect since then.  Scrappers have torn off large chunks of copper flashing on the roof, causing significant water damage, some of the masonry is falling and…we’ll have an expanded story on this vulnerable building in coming days. For now, Chandra Lampreich’s images will do.

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

Photo: Chandra Lampreich

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Photo: Chandra Lampreich

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.



6 Comments


  1. I remember it well many years back when it was in beautiful condition and was beautifully used.

  2. beautiful pictures . such a grand church being eaten away by the elements and urban decay . so sad indeed

  3. Chandra Lampreich has managed to capture her ceiling images and turning them into beautiful abstract pieces of art, even at this stage of the church’s deterioration.

  4. Awesome pics, Chandra! Love your work!!

  5. Great pictures of a truly beautiful church. It would be tragic to see this demolished.

  6. Stunning photography!

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