Thursday, March 10, 2016

Saving a Church

2nd Spiritual Church

It's a second life. The 2nd Spiritual Church on Thompson St, between Frankford Ave and Front St. was saved by re-purposing its use for future office/work space. Skilled masons redesigned a small round window to a much larger one on the second floor for natural lighting. They also replaced bricks and pointing, power washed the brickwork and preserved the dedication stone.
The inner construction started by increasing the depth/height of the basement to create additional functional work space. Steel beams and girders were used to create a strong and secure second floor that extends through most of the length of the building.
Bravo! The characteristic of the church and the neighborhood is respectfully preserved. I made sure to not only praise the workmanship but also thank those involved for a thoughtful plan that compliments Fishtown.
The best conversation was with the two Italian masons who raised their hands with joy upon hearing my name was Roman. They knew about Istria and the surrounding conflict during the turn of the 20th century. We could of talked for hours.
Other successful church re-purposing into studio/living space in Fishtown are the Methodist Siloam Church on Susquehanna Ave near Almond St and the  Episcopal Emmanuel Church on Marlborough St just above Girard Avenue.
A greater challenge is saving St Laurentius Roman Catholic Church and the rich immigrant Polish history. This church needs structural repair which is possible but some what costly. Community effort remains strong and determined to find a developer who will preserve, re-purpose, this iconic characteristic of Fishtown.
Another church that had been re-purposed into living space and occupied as so for approximately the past twenty years is on Montgomery Ave near Frankford Ave.
This stone facade brick and mortar building is being offered for re-sale for an apparent high price. The current owners seem to prefer demolishing this church to build additional high priced box houses like the ones being constructed next to the church. Update: Church Saved
There are those of us who stand up against more out of control Fishtown realty reality.

Montgomery and Frankford Avenue
The Congregational Pilgrim Church at Marlborough and Belgrade St was not possible to save/re-purpose. It, however, was still a disheartened sight to see it totally demolished.
Bravo for those developers who re-purpose and preserve the characteristic of Fishtown with thoughtful planning that compliments the neighborhood.

pov words and oictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved


  1. Quick correction - Siloam on Susquehanna was a Methodist church. When the building was sold the congregation merged with Summerfield, which is why the full name of our church is "Summerfield-Siloam United Methodist Church".

  2. Thanks Dan for the correction and some background history. I re-checked my source and acknowledge my mistake. I will make that correct to my post.
    I sourced my information from a 1954 book "The Complete Street Guide to Philadelphia Pa." It did not list the denomination and name of the church on Montgomery Ave. It, however, did list the Presbyterian Bethesda Church that once stood on the corner of Berks St and Frankford Ave. This now and has been for some years the location of the NKCDC Garden Center.