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St. Luke’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA

December 25, 2013

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There are several groups of Akron-Auditorium church buildings; 1) those like First Methodist in Fargo that have stood relatively intact for a hundred years or so (though its Sunday School disappeared many yeas ago); 2) buildings that stood and served, then vanished by acts of men or fate; and 3) buildings that failed to be built for budgetary or other reasons (though their influence may have been great). Today—Christmas Day, in fact—I stumbled on one in Categary #2 that must have been a potent example in its community.

St. Luke’s Methodist Episcopal stood at Jackson and South Broad streets from about 1895 until fairly recently; a tacky branch bank occupies the site today. On-line information is skimpy, and some of that contradicts itself. Sources differ, for example, on the name of its architect: Ballinger & Perrot or Thomas P. Lonsdale. I know a little about Lonsdale, but this second image is stronger proof of B&P.

St-1. Lukes Methodist Episcopal Church South Broad and Jackson Streets Ballinger and Perot architects and engineers 1200 Chestnut St. Phila.

Suffice to sat, though, that the Sunday School and its “basilican section” were the dominant element at the street corner. Good advertising for a low-church Protestant denomination. Do you suppose there was a two-story movable partition on the party wall between sanctuary and Sunday School? I’m betting there was and that its lack of fire protection may have spelled disaster for St. Luke’s.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

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