I live across the street from an interesting piece of local history, a semi-vacant lot that used to be home to a church, and may yet take on a new life.
The church was built in about 1926. By 2010 it was vacant and unused. An attempt was made that year to covert it into apartments, but that effort was thwarted. The building again sat empty until 2012, when it was badly damaged by an arson fire. In January of 2013 an effort to have the building designated a landmark was announced. It was too little, too late, though, and demolition of the building began that same week.
The interesting thing about property demolitions, something that I didn’t know until I lived across from a property that had been demolished, is that (in some cases, at least) the owner of the building to be demolished actually sells the property to the demolition company. That’s what happened in this case, and at some point along the way, the owner of the demolition company decided that the church’s bell tower was too distinctive to knock down. After determining that the tower was structurally sound, it was spared, to be saved for another use. Announcements were made that a brand new apartment complex would fill the vacant lot and replace the church, much to the excitement and relief of the neighborhood.
For now, though, the tower it still sits alone in the middle of a muddy field. Construction vehicles appear occasionally, but not much has happened in the last few years. The day after taking pictures of the tower and property the other day, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see three trucks parked there, and three people walking around the lot. Something may yet come of this.
I do hope that something goes in there eventually, but I’d be lying if I said that the tower, as it currently stands, doesn’t hold some visual appeal for me. As I’ve mentioned before, urban decay, the traces of what used to be but is no more, outlines of rooflines and doors that float in that float high above the ground – I find these things pretty magical.
And I’m not the only one who may be sad to see things change. The falcon (I think it’s a falcon) that has taken up residence in the bell tower may also have reservations about new construction at the site. I don’t know much about falcons, or birds of prey in general, but I do know this one seems to be pretty happy with the current arrangement. It certainly offers a nice vantage point from which to hunt the local wildlife. Hopefully there’s another suitable home nearby, should an eviction notice arrive.
(Spare prompt via the WP Photo Challenge. Apologies for the blurriness of the bird, but I was seriously excited to get a recognizable image at all.)