Happy belated 4th of July. The Project recovers from a weekend of fireworks both literal and figurative with an item from Joan Campion, proprietor of the blog Welcome to Penns Woods, which she describes as a "Let's see what we can do to help save Pennsylvania" blog.
Greetings. You are doing a most amazing job. I am the founder and former president of the South Bethlehem Historical, where we recently lost some churches. The churches are still standing, but closed.
From her blog posting:
Churches can be among the most interesting examples of architecture in a community--yet, as we are finding more and more frequently, they can be the most easily lost. Anything can hit them, from bankruptcy to a shift in demograhics to a fire.
Does your community have any closed, lost, or abandoned church buildings? Ours does. And what can we do about them? Not much, unless we are extremely well-stocked with money. WE are not, as it happens.
But there's the Philly Church Project, to show us a way even the rather poor might take in dealing with the problem. Go to www.phillychurchproject.com, and you will behold a virtual museum of sacred architecture in one city. Some of it no longer exists in "real" reality, but it does live on in cyberspace.
A project like this can be a real service to local and Pennsylvania history. If it covers a reasonably small community, it can be within the reach of a small historical society. If you have some internet and camera chops, it may even be within your own reach.
If you try it, let me know what you come up with. Maybe we can link up.
Good stuff, and we thank Joan for the publicity and the kind words. The Project has written on closings in coal country before. The problem is little different for those communities than the ones in the city, but closings and consolidations are amplified because of the smaller scale. Despite many, many closures, the greater metropolitan Philadelphia area still has more churches than we can count.
And to add on to Joan's excellent suggestion: anyone who feels compelled to start their own Project, please let us know as well. Just don't think about doubling up on Philly, though--that's the Project's territory, and we don't like to share.