Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fixin' a hole where the rain gets in

Supposedly Rich Products is going to fix the hole in the roof of the historic Breckenridge Street Church (also known as the Union Meeting House) built in 1827. Covering it with a tacky blue tarp would have been a nice touch, but perhaps that falls under the "who are we kidding about preventing weather damage" school of thought.

Looking at the church from Niagara Street, it certainly doesn't look like anything special, but looks can be misleading.

The church may well have been part of the Underground Railroad, since it sets near the river, a block away from Broderick Park at the foot of Ferry where Harriet Tubman allegedly passed through. It would need to be documented in order to receive federal funding however. Then again, maybe they weren't abolitionists. At any rate, it has an interesting history. Besides being a house of worship that attracted President Grover Cleveland and others, it was also used for a variety of other purposes, including as a detention center for Chinese trying to sneak over the border this way.

Historic preservation seems to matter most to the company/family when it can be written off as a business expense, like converting space for a bakery or offices. Makes sense from a financial point of view. Since the church is now listed as a warehouse, it is low priority. After all, they demolished the restaurant on the corner when it no longer fit the business plan. At least they rescued the "man on the corner" but in the process moved him inside in order to prevent vandalism. The corner looks barren.

At any rate, it would be nice to see the church spiffed up a bit and possibly open for tours. Yeah, keep dreaming...

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