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Musical chairs in McKeesport

February 5, 2016

McKeesport is a 19th century industrial town from the era when steel was king in western Pennsylvania. It’s situated upriver from Pittsburgh, where the Youghiogheny joins the Monongahela. [Say that three times fast; I dare you.] Steel plants and other industries attracted a wide variety of immigration, both native and foreign-born, so towns like McKeesport often had a wider assortment of religious denominations and sects than might be normal (whatever that is). And with the collapse of those enterprises — creation of the Rust Belt — large numbers of those churches have closed. The Baptist church I blogged yesterday is a sad example, so another visit to the town seemed in order.

mckeesportmap

Aerial surveillance revealed a few interesting candidates for Akron-icity besides the 1904 Baptist church designed by Uniontown architect John C. Fulton. But when I tried to corroborate the appearance of this new example by locating postcard images, it became clear that there has been some sort of shell game afoot. The church identified as Presbyterian in this postcard (below) …

PAmckeesportPres

…is now the Judah Ministries International Worship Center, still situated at the corner of Sixth and Market streets. There is, however, another fine Gothic Revival church of similar vintage at the corner of Union and Versailles avenues that google insists is the McKeesport Presbyterian Church.” And the J. C. Fulton Baptist church became Zion Baptist Church on its way toward dereliction.

 

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