Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Back in May, with the rear garage already demolished, and the demolition equipment idling outside the sanctuary windows, I got to take a last walk through St. John the Evangelist Church, on the corner where Moyamensing, 3rd, and Reed meet. It was a quiet little tour around the place, with only a couple of glaziers working on removing the last elements of the churches rose window.
Over the next week the 1854 church and the later adjacent parish house both came down. Since, a full complement of off-the-shelf modern townhouse have flown up on the site over the summer, all with rear-access two-car parking. The conflict between the need for Philadelphia to provide new housing to meet resurgent demand and old buildings with uses that are no longer in demand is playing out across the city daily. While city has wonderful, architecturally-diverse churches, the population is increasingly secular, and the aesthetic value of churches is regularly seems to fall short to the monetary value of large lots in great neighborhoods.