Another church with ties to Frank Furness is quietly falling apart in West Philadelphia.
The former Episcopal Church of the Atonement at 47th Street & Kingsessing Avenue has been served with a 30-day “repair or demolish” notice by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Known as St. Peter’s Church of Christ since 1979, the building has several violations dating to 2008, including loose bricks and a dilapidated roof.
After neighbors complained about its deteriorating condition, the church installed a series of cell phone antennae on its bell tower as a last ditch effort to secure funds and stabilize the building. Attempts to reach the church administration failed.
The original Church of the Atonement was founded in 1847 and located at 17th and Summer Streets. After the parish disbanded in 1896, a new Church of the Atonement was constructed in 1900; its parish house next door was built in 1892. Originally called St. Paul’s, it was renamed to honor the memory of the old Atonement’s rector, Dr. Benjamin Watson, who died in 1899.
The design was the work of Furness, Evans and Company. Another Furness work, the Memorial Church of the Holy Comforter (now known as 19th Street Baptist) in Point Breeze, has also visibly deteriorated, although its congregation has been able to secure the building.