Sunday, June 23, 2013

Abandoned Quinn Chapel Church, Louisville, Kentucky

Located near the intersection of 9th and Chestnut Streets in downtown Louisville, this abandoned Gothic Revival church most recently housed the Quinn Chapel African American Methodist Episcopal Church.  Today it sits empty, decaying near two of the city's busiest streets, rarely noticed except by the occasional passersby.  But, it wasn't always so...

The Quinn Chapel, as seen in better days.  This photo was taken in 1980, when the building was nearly 100 years old.  As can be seen by comparing these two photos, most of the decay is pretty recent.  It doesn't take long for a building to wear away when its being neglected, something the following pictures make painfully clear.

Although the Quinn Chapel ME is its most well known occupant, the old church has actually housed more than one parish.  Built in 1884 by the the Weaver Memorial Baptist group, a white congregation, it wasn't sold to the Quinn Chapel until 1910.  While being on the National Register of Historic Places, this means little in terms of preservation.  While the owners can't modify its appearance, they are free to let the structure fall down. 

Although it is now long gone, the church actually had a steeple at one time on the flat roof area visible in this photo. These days, the bricks are crumbling and collapsing into the parking lot.  There is talk of re-purposing the structure into a community center, but little action seems to be taking place.  Hopefully this changes soon before the building is lost.

In this photo one can see the delicate and complicated masonry elements incorporated into the design of the facade.  They simply don't make buildings like this anymore.  In this region ivy is a very aggressive critter, and without someone to cut it away and protect the masonry, it is likely that this building will be very much overgrown within a few years or so.

While most of the windows are broken or boarded up, some stained glass is intact, as this photo shows cleary.  Note the wrought iron fence along the sidewalk, an interesting design element that has managed to survive two world wars and a decade of serious neglect.  Without attention and stabilization, it is unclear how the building will last another ten years.  

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