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This little gem is located *correction* WITHIN the boundaries of the Chatham Arch Historic District.  Pretty much all of the architectural details are hidden by the aluminum(?) siding, but you can still (somewhat) imagine what it may have looked like in its heyday.  The corner tower is swathed in that siding, but there is an encouraging hint of some former ornamentation and at the top of the tower—looks like some dentils remain. (Dentils are discussed more in detail here.) A couple of the cornice returns are visible at the roofline at the front of the building, but it is difficult initially to notice them with all of the bright white or dull gray siding overwhelming the rest of the view.

Next: look closely at the windows.  Even the untrained eye can gather that these aren’t the originals. Covered up, shortened, modified—and slatted.  The three small arched ones in the dormer may be the original shape, but I’m doubtful they were originally filled in with black. No one even bothered with the paint on that arched window on the north side— just naked knotty boards that you might find on an old barn.  It’s clear that all of the windows on the building have been altered and/or replaced. Most unfortunately, the ones they installed don’t really fit the space.  Instead of using windows that fit the openings, random pieces of wood were used to fill in spaces around the edges, framing up slatted windows. Oh my.

Remedies:  1. Remove all siding. Who knows what is hiding behind there? Restore the appropriate exterior materials.

2. New windows that fit the openings—we may presume that stained glass once graced at least some of the window openings. In an ideal world, stained glass would again fill those windows.

3. Identify the other missing pieces and figure out how to restore them. It’s so remuddled, it’s hard to know what else would need to be done until ‘peeling the onion’ starts…

6 responses to “WTH Weds: Have Mercy on this Building”

  1. Jill says:

    What was the building’s original purpose? Church? Love to know what is hiding under the siding.

  2. basil berchekas jr says:

    An excellent example of what NEEDS to be restored!

  3. David Brewer says:

    This is the Upper Room Church, officially listed on Google as 1019 North Broadway.

    In the 1930 Directory, there is an Allen Chapel AME Church Order of de Molay at 1017 North Broadway. It just says Order of de Molay in 1940. I couldn’t find anything listed at 1019.

  4. Josh says:

    Miriam, thank you for writing WTH Wednesday in a more positive way than the last duo of authors. I stopped reading this feature when it became more of an excuse to simply mock other people’s design choices just for the hell of it. (And who can say why certain choices were made in the past regarding these buildings–lack of funds to alter the building properly, a void of good aesthetics or just pure laziness?) Its easy to say these buildings now look ridiculous, but another to point out (in a nice, non ridiculing tone) ways that it might be corrected, or restored.

  5. Miriam Burkett says:

    Thanks Josh!!

  6. Paul says:

    The building has an interesting history, and like Josh I too appreciate taking a more constructive tone toward thinking about the concrete reasons a building looks as it does now. Understanding that particular building requires understanding urban renewal in Chatham Arch and the racial and clas politics of highway construction that sliced into the neighborhood in the 1960’s.

    In August, 1866 Allen Chapel AME (i.e., African-Methodist-Episcopal) was formed on Broadway Street , with the church described in 1870 as being a 36 X 44 foot frame structure first occupied in Christmas, 1866. An “African” church was first in the city directory in that spot in 1867, and in 1870 the congregation was identified in the city directory as “Allen Chapel (African).” In 1887 the church appeared on a Sanborn Insurance map as a brick building sitting exactly where the Upper Room Apostolic Church sits today.

    The Allen Chapel building now facing 11th Street had its cornerstone laid in July, 1927 and the new church was dedicated in March, 1928. The building that eventually became the Upper Room Apostolic Church subsequently served one fraternal organization and least two congregations: In 1930 the building appeared in the city directory as Allen Chapel as well as the Indiana chapter of the young men’s fraternal society the Order of DeMolay, and the fraternal remained at that address in 1940, 1951, and 1960 city directories; in 1970, it was home to Pentecostal Apostolic Church; and in 1980, it appeared in the city directory as the home of the Grace Missionary Baptist Church.