Friday, August 21, 2009

former Grace-Ascension Lutheran, Toledo

Sometimes the storied face of historic churches turns tragic.
This was the first location of Grace Lutheran Church. The congregation, established in 1900, built this cute little church at Forest and Pinewood in 1902, to serve its German neighborhood of that time. This is where my mother was confirmed, and my parents were married. Grace left this building in the early 50's, selling it to a new, predominantly African-American congregation called Ascension Lutheran. Ascension used the building until moving into their current location at Dorr and Collingwood, 30 years ago. I don't know who has owned the building since then ... but they *HAVE NOT* been good stewards of it.
This once-charming church is now a sorry, abandoned wreck and a blight on a neighborhood that already has too many blights.
These crosses, now rusted, still strike an unsettling profile against the sky.
Many of the windows still have partial panes that are original, but nearly all are broken and/or boarded. The original large trefoil window under this Gothic arch must have been beautiful.
There is one - count it, one - original window that is still intact. This is up over a doorway porch roof, less susceptible to being broken out. Lovely little windows these were.
This is what most of the windows look like - partially intact, but broken and boarded.
Cracked, stained cedar shingle ...
One old window (that looks ready to cave in) and one newer window in this gable.
The old postcard photo shows a nave much shorter than this. Everything going all the way back looks original, but I still have to assume that the back of the building was extended at some point after it was built ... quite skillfully.
Glass block in the basement windows?? ... The downspouts appeared fairly recent also. I am guessing that this church may have housed an active congregation perhaps as recently as 5 to 10 years ago, but things can go downhill awfully fast with an old building when no one cares for it any longer.

The sign out front - sad.
Old doors, but they're not original.
Sad ... that door hasn't been used in a LONG time ... is there any hope for this building?
The silver lining on this dark cloud is that Ascension took the beautiful, ornate Gothic chancel furnishings - altar, pulpit, carved wooden eagle lectern, font, lovely old silver Communion set, hymn board, and a couple of old pews! - with them to their current place. That's next.

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