Preservation Pennsylvania names endangered resources in 2009

The Sidney Hillman Medical Center and the Church of the Assumption were among the most endangered historic resources in the state in 2009, according to Preservation Pennsylvania.

The non-profit historic preservation group announced its annual “Pennsylvania At Risk” list on Dec. 1. Endangerment is defined as threat of demolition, significant deterioration, vandalism, or loss of its historic setting.

The Hillman Medical Center, 2116 Chestnut St., is considered by preservationists a significant mid-century design and important element of Philadelphia’s social heritage. The John Buck Company, of Chicago, plans to replace the Modernist building with a 33-story apartment, office and retail complex. The Philadelphia Historical Commission has approved the demolition. An application for HUD funding is awaiting review.

The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1123-33 Spring Garden St., is a Gothic Revival structure designed by prolific church designer Patrick Charles Kelly in 1848. It is considered a vital neighborhood landmark by surrounding communities. The property is owned by Siloam, a social service organization for people with HIV/AIDS that has sought demolition of the church in order to construct new buildings and parking space. The demolition permit was denied and the church was elected to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in May. But Siloam has filed an appeal based on financial hardship with the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

The Pennsylvania At Risk list also names La Ronda, the 1929 Bryn Mawr estate  demolished in October after a months-long battle to preserve it failed; and the Fricks Lock Historic District in East Coventry Township, Chester County, where the vacant buildings associated with the Girard Reach of the Schuylkill Canal are in a nuclear power plant exclusion zone and are threatened with demolition.

To see the full list of endangered sites, go to www.preservationpa.org.

Contact the reporter at alanjaffe@mac.com

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.