I Heart Preservation
Buildings need love too. In honor of Valentine's Day, this past Saturday I joined a group of preservation enthusiasts, professionals, and students to heart bomb a couple of buildings that were in need of a hug.
The idea behind these “heart bombs” is to raise awareness of the potential for vacant buildings while making advocacy visible and accessible. And sometimes they're a loving send off for buildings that have lost their battle.
Our first recipient was the former Revival Temple Church on MLK Boulevard just north of downtown Indy. This church has been vacant for a while and is currently threatened with demolition by Indiana Public Schools.
The threat against Revival Temple Church has been going on since 2011 and goes a little something like this...
Though it has been vacant for several years, the Phillips Memorial Temple at 1226 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Indianapolis remains an impressive structure. It is a fine example of the Classical Revival style with four towering Tuscan columns under a classic pedimented portico. The church anchors the Flanner House Homes Historic District. The National Register-listed area encompasses the neighborhood where Flanner House – a social service agency committed to the needs of low-income African Americans -- operated from 1898 through the mid-twentieth century. Beginning in 1950, the group worked with residents to craft a self-help program encouraging them to build their own affordable housing. By the 1960s, Flanner House Homes was the largest urban self-help housing developer in the country.
The neighborhoods around downtown Indianapolis are rich with notable churches, several of which have found new uses in recent years. Indiana Landmarks’ own rehabilitation of Central Avenue Methodist Church is just one example, joined by an impressive list of others including Earth House Collective, The Sanctuary on Penn, Fletcher Pointe Condominiums and the Basile Opera Center. With their solid construction, attractive architecture, and community significance, historic religious buildings are proven candidates for creative reuse.
The church occupies a prime location immediately adjacent to Crispus Attucks Magnet School, near Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis and the IU Health medical campuses. The most recent owner, Revival Temple Church, sold the building to IPS a few years ago. In spite of Indiana Landmarks’ offer to help IPS market the building, school officials intend to proceed with demolition to create a parking lot.
-via Indiana Landmarks
After the Revival Temple Church we continued our heart bombing to Crawford's Bakery at 16th and Capital.
Built in 1926, this gorgeous building has windows for days and it's facade is covered in gorgeous terra-cotta making it stand out among the monstrous buildings that surround it.
This structure was built by the architectural firm of Pierre and Wright. Principal architects were: Edward Dienhart Pierre (Born: Ft. Wayne, IN, May 22, 1890; died March 27, 1971) and George Caleb Wright (Born: Libertyville, IL, April 25, 1889; died February 27, 1973). The firm may be best known for their winning design of the Indiana State Library and Historical Building (which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary) on Ohio Street, next to the Indiana State Capitol. It is also interesting to note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Wright the chief architect of the Federal Housing Administration in Indiana in 1937. During World War II, Pierre and Wright helped organize Hoosier architects to create air fields, ammunition depots, and some public and low cost housing projects around the state. -via Historic Indianapolis
It originally was home to Pandell's, a busy flower shop until the 1980s when Crawford's Bakery moved in. Word on the street is that this deli/bakery was always packed at lunchtime. When their rent doubled, Crawford's closed in 2008 and it has been vacant since.
The building has been vacant for several years and we found out during our heart bombing that the demolition permit was filed this past week. Read more about Crawford's Bakery at Historic Indianapolis here.
If I've learned anything about preservation over the years it is that persistence and passion are key. If there aren't people to speak on behalf of beautiful old buildings then they will likely be lost and forgotten. So if you love a historic building, threatened or not, show it some love.
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite buildings in the comments below!
Read more heart bombing at the National Trust's blog and Design Sponge.