Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Only in the Old West End...

....would this be the neighborhood crack house.
Very nice building, but it's in serious trouble. It was built in 1907, with additions in 1922, for the Epworth Methodist Church. After a fire in 1958, that congregation joined the flight to the suburbs.

( A Digression: It's odd. For two-thousand years, churches were place-specific. They tended the spiritual welfare of the people in their town or neighborhood. If people moved elsewhere, they ended up in another congregation, but the local parish remained in place, still tending to its flock.
Only in the late 20th century did ecclesial communities like this become movable dog and pony shows, tied to the persons ( And inflated egos ) of their members. Epworth, like a number of other congregations high-tailed it to the suburbs, abandoning the neighborhood flock. At that time, the people moving in to the Old West End were the poor. Couldn't expect the good "Christians" of Epworth to reach out to them, could you? Only later did the neighborhood become so gentrified that it outdoes most of the suburbs.
I have no respect, whatsoever, for ecclesial communities like Epworth, who abandoned two thousand years of common practice to, not "follow the people", but "follow the money." Digression closed. )

The building was bought by Mary Manse College in 1960, and rebuilt for use as a library. Since the college's unfortunate demise, in 1975, it has mostly sat vacant. The current owner of record seems to be a Michigan antique shop.
I'd noticed this building before, but my interest was piqued last week, when I walked up Parkwood and noticed this relief on the back wall. Not exactly a Methodist motif, so I'm guessing it dates to the tenure of Mary Manse.
I wasn't in any mood to stop for a closer look at the time, but the evidence of decay is hard to miss. One quick glance through the doors is enough to show the place is a complete mess.

The walls are sound, though not for long if nothing's done about the other problems.
I asked our frequent contributor Shari Stowell about the place. Her interest was piqued, as well, so she took a closer look. The credit for these photographs goes to her.
A good look through the doors shows far worse than the mess I noticed from the sidewalk. Interior walls and ceilings are collapsing, and parts of the roof are starting to fall. But something else can be seen; fast food packages and carry-out containers that can't possibly have been there for long.
It's a big building with lots of rooms, and nooks and crannies......
......and the back door's propped wide open.