Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year -- Here's Another Church Demolition for You

Greenwich Street Church/Khmer Palelai Buddhist Temple from Greenwich Street.

It's sadly fitting that we begin the new year with a report about another church demolition in the neighborhood. You may remember from back in May that one of our first major stories happened to be the demolition of Saint John's at 3rd and Reed Sts. to make way for Constitution Court -- it may even be the reason you came to find Pennsporter in the first place. While the construction of Constitution Court has stalled, the news of the on-going demolition at the old Greenwich Street Church (map) will mean one less church and two new, large properties in the neighborhood.

As Hidden City reports:
"Demolition has begun on Greenwich Street Church, a former worship site and Sunday school for Presbyterians and later a temple for Buddhist monks, in Pennsport.

The modest building at 240 Greenwich Street is being cleared to make way for two single-family homes, a spokesperson for Landmark Architectural Design confirmed. Although the development has yet to be finalized, the church lot is over 11,000 square feet in size, which suggests homes that will have a larger-than-average footprint and/or make abundant use of the property’s open space."

"Larger than average footprint" is a generous way of putting it. If you've ever walked past the site, either on Tasker Street or Greenwich Street, the first thing you tend to notice is the size of the land. The odd part about the placement of the church is that it's barely visible from Moyamensing Avenue. So, while it's fenced in by colorful and elaborate concrete walls on Tasker and Greenwich Streets, it's still tucked away and you could seemingly stumble upon it from time to time if your typical route is Moyamensing Avenue or 2nd Street.

It's also important to note that the adjacent warehouse on Tasker Street and Phil's Battery Service, the auto repair shop across from the church on Tasker Street, are both for sale. So keep an eye on this area of the neighborhood as it could be rapidly changing in the not-so-distant future.

Hidden City (a site most definitely worth reading on a regular basis) also delved in to the history of the site dating back to 1866 -- it's a fascinating (and short) read, give it a look.

Sidenote: a comment from "Danielle Olivieri" in the Hidden City piece references a bell that the "Monks stole from us (meaning the church) -- does anyone have information on that or it's whereabouts? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued.

Here are some pictures of what is left of the building. As always, we'll keep you posted should any more information become available.

Decorative concrete tiles that adorn the wall surrounding the site

A view from Tasker Street

A view from Moyamensing Avenue and Tasker Street

Dumpster in place, demo on-going

Decorative wall as seen from Greenwich Street

Another shot from Tasker Street

A view inside the gate on Tasker Street, demo is on-going

Closer view from Greenwich Street

More tile, it's beautiful when clean

A view inside the concrete wall

Dumpster as seen from Greenwich

Sun shines through the missing steeple


Do you have any stories/pictures/insights about old Greenwich Street Church/Khmer Palelai Buddhist Temple? Please shoot me an email,, I'd love to hear more about this place!


  1. What are they tearing it down to build more houses?

    1. Yes. For the kids that owns Pats Steaks.Shame.

    2. Yes. For the kids that owns Pats Steaks.Shame.