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Historic South End church could be turned into residential units

The Boston Sun reports on plans to turn the former Ebenezer Baptist Church, 157 West Springfield St. in the South End, into nine residential units with eight parking spaces.

The church was founded by former slaves in 1871 and was the site of civil-rights rallies in the 1950s.

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But certain structures and landmarks should remain as is. The historical value far outweighs a few new units.

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Organized religion is quickly dying off around here. We have a housing shortage and churches are empty. Plus churches don’t pay property taxes so the city is much better off with residential units.

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Ebenezer Baptist Church has history, but it's not historic enough in Boston to attract much in the way of visitors if it's preserved. Church membership is on the decline, and it's likely the decision to shutter the existing structure was made so the church could move closer to its remaining members. The church doesn't have deep enough pockets to maintain the building as a shrine to its former use, and an empty building with no function serves no one. A building that's allowed to decay until it collapses is probably the worst possible outcome.

Preserving the structure as housing is probably the best possible outcome that keeps it from eventual demolition and allows the church to continue on in a new location that works better for its members. In any event, a church is its members and not the building they worship in, and I hope Ebenezer Baptist Church can maintain the legacy of its founders for many years to come.

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Then by all means get together with like minded individuals, raise the funds, buy the property, and preserve it. But don’t force that particular choice on a small, not very rich congregation that might want to sell its real estate and put the proceeds towards its core mission of equity, justice, and looking after people’s spiritual needs, none of which require owning a big fancy building.

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We tour down the Harriet Tubman house., anybody ever hear of her.

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Given that aside from the name, there was nothing historic about the building (not saying tearing it down was the right decision or not, but no, Tubman herself had nothing to do with that particular site).

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It is amazing the number of people who thought good ol' racist Boston was tearing down Harriett Tubman's actual residence when a 1970's office building that was allowed to rot internally was being removed.

Just like when the Mashpee Wampanoag and their Malaysian "investors" got denied the right last year to call an industrial park in Taunton tribal land, you know after they purchased it way back in 2014, to build a casino. People on twitter thought there was some great Jacksonian land swindle across from the Silver City Galleria and the native Americans were being thrown out of their ancient structures on Stevens Street when it was a few 1990's built flex buildings that were torn down. It was actually the FBI looking into money laundering, not the Taunton trail of tears.

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Is this a good use of this building? Condos? oh sorry "residential units".

You'd think with the significant history here with people of color, it should become something else. We have lots of historic places for white people in town.. why not more for people of color too?

Sorry just surprised there isn't a movement to make this into some sort of historic place to visit. Like many black churches in the South End who want to build a church closer to its parishioners, and selling such land in the So End is the way to do it. I get it but, not that many have a background as this one does.

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All wrong. What a display of disrespect by failing to keep this gem as a symbol of something it was never intended to ever be.

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lot of conversion projects in the South End over the last 20 years that have preserved or will preserve their exterior shells: Penny Savings Bank, German Trinity Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception, and New Hope Baptist Church, to name a few.

However you feel about them being converted into expensive housing, most of those properties had sat idle and vacant, often for many years, and at least this approach preserves their historic facades. I'd rather see that than watch them slowly deteriorate into safety hazards and trash magnets, or get erased and replaced with some modern monstrosity that doesn't fit the lovely Victorian architectural character of the neighborhood.

The old Hotel Alexandra at Washington and Mass Ave could continue to wallow as a burned-out, crumbling wreck for another few decades, or a swank boutique hotel could go in there while preserving its street-level aspect. Might be an inconvenience traffic-wise for me, but I'm still for it, hope it yet goes through. At least the Scientologists gave up on it as a local HQ, praise Xenu.

Glaring counter-example: the hulking, bus-stop-crowding luxury condo building on Washington at Worcester Square that replaced an ancient, single-story TV / hi-fi repair shop a decade or so ago. Don't know how they got that hideous, grossly out-of-scale modern design past the South End Landmark District Commission. At that corner, it's like a mullet-sporting steroid case wearing a Gucci DayGlo-green mesh tank top, board shorts and flip-flops to a Jazz Age-themed formal wedding. I can only assume that graft was involved, or it regrettably fell outside the SELDC's jurisdiction. As a South End local, it's not hard for me to pick my poison here.

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...upvote just for the mullet comment...

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