The Calvary building underwent major masonry replacements this summer. From the top of the tower to the basement level, about half of the stone pointing is being replaced all over the building. This is the first masonry overhaul the building has had in its hundred year history. Cost is $178,000. The work is being done by Premier Building Restoration, Inc., who also reconstructed the gables in 2005. Premier started the work in April and finished in September. This major exterior repair was made possible by a $100,000 grant from Keystone and Partners for Sacred Places, and a $50,000 anonymous donation, and other grants, particularly by Claniel Foundation, and other individual donations.
Volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic Student Movement painted the standing display board on 48th Street in the red, black and gold color scheme used on the new outdoor signage and then went on to apply the same colors to the main entrance at the corner of 48th and Baltimore. This group performed a similar community service project last year helping to restore some historic porches on S. 45th Street and asked the University City Historical Society to locate another such local worksite. Calvary was one of two West Philadelphia locations served by the group in 2005.
Pictured at work renewing the Calvary doors are Lutheran students from Towson University, Baltimore; Muhlenberg College, Allentown; Centenary College, Hackettstown; Kutztown University, Kutztown; the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mt. Airy; and Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, University City.
Calvary thanks them, UCHS and the University City District for making the arrangements for this “Gift to the Streets” from the Calvary Center and hopes they will be coming back next year for another service day in the neighborhood.
Thanks to grants from Citizen’s Bank and the University City District, CCCC is implementing special lighting for the incomparable Tiffany windows. These lights will illuminate the windows from the interior at night, literally putting artistic masterpieces on the nighttime streetscape at Baltimore Avenue and 48th Street.
Through the same funding, CCCC is puchasing three street lights which complement the vintage architecture. One light will be placed at the corner of 48th and Baltimore, and the other two lights will be placed one length down each street, lighting the sidewalks, the new garden, the signage below, and the tower above. This will create an exquisite and welcoming beauty mark for Baltimore Avenue and the surrounding community.
But we still need your help!
CCCC estimates the electricity will cost $200 a month. We just need to raise the money to pay for two years of electricity before the lights become a reality. That’s less than $5,000.
Help CCCC keep the lights shining at our Community Beacon. Support CCCC today!
Over the years, a number of professional architectural and engineering studies were done in order to assess the deteriorated condition of the Calvary UMC Church Building and to make recommendations for its restoration. Reconstruction of the Tiffany window gables was identified as the most significant structural problem.
A potential hazard to pedestrians, the gables’ displacement could also have caused irreparable harm to the Church Building and the two magnificent Tiffany window ensembles in the main sanctuary below. Several methodswere considered for correcting the problem, but after much consultation with other experts, the engineering consultant, John Holland of Holland Architects Ltd, concluded that the only way to secure the gables was to completely dismantle them, stone-by-stone, build a reinforcement, and then reconstruct the gable stone walls.
Almost without a hitch, both the Baltimore Avenue and 48th Street gables were reconstucted, in under a year’s time, at a cost of $407,000.
The importance of the success of this project cannot be stressed enough. Completing the gables repair has made it possible to begin restoration of the sanctuary space, and has also allowed CCCC and its partners to continue to grow and support programs and events, all to the benefit of our community.
The Trustees of Calvary United Methodist Church and the Board of the Calvary Center for Culture and Community wish to express sincere gratitude and thank all organizations and community members who contributed the financial support, without which this milestone progress could not have been made. Those patrons include:
Government State Grant from State Rep. James Roebuck
PA Historical & Museum Commission
William Penn Foundation
Trustees of Calvary United Methodist Church
University City Historical Society
Greater Philadelphia Preservation Alliance
Helen Groome Beatty Trust
Dolfinger McMahon Foundation
Community Individual Contributions
Members of Calvary UMC
CCCC Board Members
The CCCC was awarded a 2009 Keystone grant of $72,781.
The CCCC was awarded a 2009 Keystone grant of $72,781. The CCCC already has the required matching funds in hand, so projects approved for this grant have already begun. First priority goes to upgrading Calvary’s electrical capacity to three phase electrical, and related necessary electrical work will be done. New electrical capacity can ensure both a full compliment of theater lights and main auditorium lights, and connections for the planned elevator. After that, we will begin work on restoration of the deep relief Victorian plastering in the sanctuary ceiling. The Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission has been continually supportive of the Calvary restoration project because of the architectural and artistic value of the building, and we also believe because of the innovative redevelopment and creative uses of the building’s space.