Demolition of shuttered church begins after long battle

Aug 19, 2022, 9:16 PM | Updated: Aug 20, 2022, 9:51 am
FILE - This Feb. 23, 2016 file photo shows the St. Laurentius Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia...

FILE - This Feb. 23, 2016 file photo shows the St. Laurentius Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia. Demolition of a shuttered 19th-century church in Philadelphia has begun following a yearslong battle by some neighbors to save the crumbling structure. Crews last week surrounded the 140-year-old St. Laurentius Church in Fishtown with scaffolding, fencing and barricades. Neighbors gathered Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 to get their final look at the structure. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Demolition of a shuttered 19th-century church in Philadelphia has begun following a yearslong battle by some neighbors to save the crumbling structure.

Crews last week surrounded the 140-year-old St. Laurentius Church in the Fishtown neighborhood with scaffolding, fencing and barricades. Neighbors gathered Wednesday to get their final look, taking pictures and pointing to the huge cross, once affixed to the building, that lay against a fence, KYW reported.

“I don’t want to see a church, regardless of denomination, to come down,” Margaret Ann Ramsey told KYW. “It’s always been part of the area, so it’s sad, especially for the people who belong to this parish.”

Michael Johnson of HC Site Construction told WTXF-TV that the work to dismantle the 150-foot spires is being done by hand, with material dropped through chutes to the basement to prevent vibrations from truck activity.

The city’s department of licenses and inspections issued a demolition permit almost a year ago, but officials said relocating utility poles and wires ringing the property took longer than expected. Crews also were told to wait until summer because of classes at a Catholic school next door, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

St. Laurentius is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and the Philadelphia Historical Commission has ordered the developer to preserve or rebuild the church’s front face in any new development. A zoning permit for a proposed eight-story 49-unit multifamily residential building is being appealed, the newspaper reported.

The church was built in 1882 with the donations of Polish immigrants. In 2014, the archdiocese of Philadelphia announced its closure, citing “vertical cracks” and a “heavily deteriorated” facade that threatened collapse absent a $3.5 million restoration. Supporters said their estimates totaled only $700,000. The historical commission added the church to the city’s historic register in 2015.

Concerns arose in 2019, when pieces of the facade crumbled, in one case with 6,000 pounds (2,720 kilograms) of rock breaking off a spire, puncturing steel scaffolding and falling into a fenced safety zone around the church, prompting closure of the nearby school for two days.

The archdiocese spent $135,000 to stabilize the building, and city inspectors said it appeared to be in better shape, but later two engineers hired by the new owner concluded that St. Laurentius had decayed substantially, with one predicting “at least partial collapse” within a decade. A structural engineer hired by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia said the building had remained standing despite dire assessments by a number of engineers.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Latvian Prime Minister and Head of board of leading political party Jauna Vienotiba (New Unity) Kri...
Associated Press

Latvian premier’s party emerges on top in general election

HELSINKI (AP) — Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ ruling center-right party won the most votes in Latvia’s general election, centrist parties were runners-up and pro-Moscow parties crashed in a vote that was shaped by neighboring Russia’s war in Ukraine and divisions among the Baltic country’s sizable ethnic Russian minority. With more than 97% of the votes […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian servicemen drive a tank on the way to Siversk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 1,...
Associated Press

Ukraine presses counteroffensive after Russian setback

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia attacked the Ukrainian president’s hometown with suicide drones on Sunday, and Ukraine pushed ahead with its counteroffensive after taking back control of a strategic eastern city. Russia’s loss of Lyman, which it had been using as a transport and logistics hub, is a new blow to the Kremlin as it […]
1 day ago
Police cars wrecked in soccer riots are seen on the pitch at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Jav...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What’s behind Indonesia’s deadly soccer match?

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Violence and a deadly stampede that erupted following a domestic league soccer match Saturday night marked another tragedy in Indonesian football. Here’s a look at how the chaos occurred and what is being done to prevent future incidents. ___ HOW DID THE CHAOS OCCUR? Chaos broke out after Persebaya Surabaya defeated […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Military: Gunmen kill Pakistani UN peacekeeper in east Congo

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani soldier serving as a U.N. peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed in a militant attack in the country’s volatile east, the military said. A group of six militants reached the United Nations’ permanent operation base in the district of Minembwe, ostensibly to surrender their weapons as part […]
1 day ago
Buddhist monks perform rituals during the funeral of famed American extreme skier Hilaree Nelson in...
Associated Press

Famed US extreme skier gets traditional Nepalese funeral

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was on Sunday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials. Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off […]
1 day ago
Pasika Bagerimana stands outside a temporary shelter she shares with others who fled fighting, in N...
Associated Press

Rebel violence in eastern Congo causes hunger to soar

NYIRAGONGO, Congo (AP) — The last thing Pasika Bagerimana remembers before her sons died were their cries of hunger. But the 25-year-old mother had nothing to feed them. “‘Mom, I need to eat. Can you give me food?'” they pleaded with her. Daniel, 2, and Bonane, 5, died just weeks apart in July after fleeing […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Demolition of shuttered church begins after long battle