The 114-year-old church at 47th and Kingsessing is set for demolition, perhaps the last chapter in a long story of decay at the Frank Furness-designed building.
The city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) recently ordered the building’s demolition. A fence was recently placed around it and, according to a sign nailed to one of the boarded-up doors, L&I has “cleaned and sealed” the building, which since 1979 has been St. Peter’s Church of Christ. The small congregation no longer meets in the church’s main building, which was constructed in 1900 and has fallen into a state of disrepair over the past several years. Famed architect Frank Furness’ firm Furness, Evans and Company designed the building (and a bunch of other cool buildings in the city).
The City Paper‘s Ryan Briggs reported late last week that L&I officials said demolition would begin Monday. So far, it’s still standing. Neighbors, some of whom live within a few feet of the building, are concerned about the demolition, especially with recent botched demolitions of Elena’s Soul in late 2012, last week’s Hoops deli demolition and the tragedy at 22nd and Market last year. They have posted signs near site asking people to keep an eye on the demolition as they pass by the building.
Hidden City reported last year that the church was served with a “30-day repair or demolish order” by L&I and has code violations dating from at least six years ago.
A few rumors are floating around that a buyer may come in to save the building, though the St. Peter’s congregation, which meets next door at the even older parish house, is reluctant to open up the building to a Calvary Center style arrangement to save it.
A few years ago the congregation agreed to allow Sprint to place cell antennas on top of the building to earn a little money. Those were removed late last week, according to City Paper.
It appears that this time demolition is imminent. We’ll keep you posted. Please drop us a line if you see the demolition starting.
– Mike Lyons