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Philadelphia: History Means Nothing To Us

By Wyatt Earp | September 12, 2010

The Philadelphia Historical Commission: now there’s a contradiction in terms.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission cleared the way Friday for the demolition of a landmark Spring Garden Street church whose sanctuary nurtured the city’s two most notable Roman Catholic saints, John Neumann and Katharine Drexel. Built by the noted church architect Patrick Charles Keely, the Church of the Assumption was consecrated by Bishop Neumann in 1848. Drexel was baptized there a decade later.

The commission agreed to allow the demolition after its nonprofit owner testified that it was financially incapable of making crucial repairs to the green copper steeples. The 6-5 vote marked the latest defeat in Philadelphia’s struggle to retain its stock of spectacular, but underused, 19th-century religious buildings.

When the commission deadlocked, 5-5, on the issue, Chairman Sam Sherman, who normally does not vote, cast the deciding ballot in support of demolition. Sherman, a developer, recently completed a successful market-rate rowhouse project just two blocks north of the church.

So a developer cast the deciding ballot to have the church razed? No shenanigans there.

You know after the blogger tax, the cupcake fiasco, and the proposed fining of the church bells, I don’t know why anyone would want to come to Philadelphia. Please folks, stay home and save your spending money for a city that truly deserves it.

Topics: Philly, WTF? | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Philadelphia: History Means Nothing To Us”

  1. Matt W Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 8:50 am


  2. Randal Graves Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Where’s the Archdiocese? I guess this church doesn’t make enough money for the richest landowner in Philadelphia to do anything about it.

  3. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Matt – Yeah, infuriating, isn’t it?

    Randal – Dropped the ball. They’re just as guilty as the commission, the renter, and the city. And now an historical icon will be bulldozed – for nothing.

  4. Loaded Dice in Vegas Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I wonder what would’ve happened if it was a mosque?


    I think I know………….

  5. Raptor Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:58 am


    Yep. City would be burned to the ground.

  6. Rick Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    What a shame. So mcuh history being lost.

  7. Dannytheman Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I have said it here before. I avoid going to the city at all costs. The Parking authority risks, the huge cost to park a car, extra sales tax on everything? Why would anyone in their right mind go there? There are only 3 things that take me into the city. Eagles, Phillies and my son playing music there. (He will be at McFaddens today for Eagles Game)

    I hate the city. Plain and simple!

  8. Randal Graves Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    If it were a mosque, the Muslims that were affected by it may have done something about it. That’s the problem with so many Catholics, they’re Catholic by name, not by action. Maybe if every Catholic in the city put up $10, it could be saved, but they couldn’t care less because it doesn’t really affect them.

  9. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    LDIV – The city would save it to not offend the muzzies.

    Raptor – Probably a good idea, anyway.

    Rick – And no one cares.

    Danny – Hell, Eagles games are better on TV anyway. And baseball? *yawn* Although your son playing is pretty cool.

    Randal – Information is part of the problem, too. It was never addressed in our parish, and this was the first news story I have seen about it. BVM folks would put up the money if asked. We do for lots of other causes. Like I said, the archdiocese and the city dropped the ball, and a valuable piece of history will soon be gone.

  10. Randal Graves Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Yeah, but I got my block collection envelope right on time!

  11. Ingineer66 Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    WTF? How could they let this beautiful building be razed? Amazing. I know you cannot save every old building but this seems a little extreme.

  12. RT Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Can’t understand, change, fix, cure, or reverse stupid.

    Another positive underpinning in Philly getting kicked.

  13. Kim Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    It’s time for someone to start ringing the Liberty Bell to wake people up.

  14. Wes S. Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    If they can fine a church for ringing its own steeple bell, Kim, it’s too late to worry about ringing the Liberty Bell. That train has already left the station.

    Also, Philly’s scumbag city pols would likely have the Liberty Bell ringer jailed…

    Tar. Feathers. The Philadelphia mayor and city council.

    Some assembly required.

  15. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Randal – We’ve dodged that bullet so far, but it’s coming.

    Ingineer66 – Especially it being the home of two Philadelphia Saints!

    RT – But hey, we need a Starbucks on that corner, so . . .

    Kim – Never happen. No one in this town gives a damn anymore.

    Wes S. – And Nutter will be re-elected in a landslide – fire station brownouts and all.

  16. bob (either orr) Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    First the church bells, now this. Philadelphia guilty of anti-Catholicism. Of course, no one other than us will notice.

  17. Ferrell Gummitt Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    “You know after the blogger tax, the cupcake fiasco, and the proposed fining of the church bells, I don’t know why anyone would want to come to Philadelphia.”

    For Tony Luke’s Philly Cheesesteaks?

  18. C/A Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I know this Church well. It is in my old local. I looked at it quite a few times anticipating it being torched. It was vacant as long as I worked in town. It doesn’t sound like the owner of the “non-profit” did much to save or maintain the property. Once again Wyatt you are right. This city doesn’t give a sh*t about it’s past cultural heritage yet crows about “multi-culturalism” at every turn. it’s B.S. Did you expect anything less after they demolished the old fire headquarters?

  19. C/A Says:
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    The Catholic Church is abandoning the city like everyone else. It’s just another closed parrish to them.

  20. CMouse Says:
    September 13th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Too bad. My undergraduate degrees are from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN a college that was started with seed money as an Indian Normal School from St. Katharine Drexel. The college, community, and historic landmarks association applied for grants to save Drexel Hall from demolition. Too bad a city as big as Philly is getting upstaged by a little community like Rensselaer, Indiana in preserving historic landmarks.