Save Union Avenue Church

I just returned from a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. As I walked through their downtown one thing above all else grabbed my attention - all the historic buildings. Many had lost their original use years ago, but instead of demolishing these architectural landmarks they were saved and new uses were found for them. How wise the leaders of Charleston were and are. To lose the connection to your past is to lose the purpose of your future.

Now I return to Memphis where the battle to keep the Union Avenue Methodist Church is growing. The members of the church have plans to move and CVS demolish the building and build a pharmacy. Well I’m all for new businesses but if we turn our communities into strip malls who will remain to patronized these establishments?

There is an effort to create an overarching plan for the area. This has been something I have advocated for several communities including North and South Memphis. All too often we allow development to occur piecemeal; with one project having no connection to the next. We must develop a plan and strategy to where we are trying to go. If we fail to do this we might find ourselves somewhere we don’t like.


Divers and Sundry said...

"The members of the church have plans to move"

The members _have_ moved, and the church has merged with another congregation. It's too late to save the church, which my Sunday School teachers always told me was the people and not the building.

Saving the building is something else again, but I've heard it has serious structural issues.

Anonymous said...

The truth is this city looks at dollars first - last - always. History means nothing if it don't have money behind it.

Divers and Sundry said...

"History means nothing if it don't have money behind it."

If you can save that building with no money, I'd love to see it done. It needs a lot of structural work, and it's not accessible.

Anonymous said...

Why cant they just tear down three sides and leave one side up. They did it for Beale Street. All those empty building. And they did it for the Cumberland school now Chick-fil-a. Here's an idea lets do that with all the building from now on. It will look like a movie set. Tear the damn thing down and lets move on!

Divers and Sundry said...

"Why cant they just tear down three sides and leave one side up."

The most visually noteworthy parts of the building are the cupola up in the middle of the roof and the Cooper Street side with the steps and columns. Is there any way to save those?

If not, is there any way to tear the whole thing down but make sure CVS builds their new store in a way that's suitable for what the neighborhood wants for the site?