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A sad memory of a nice place I visited once…

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While I was out job hunting I decided to get some lunch and visit a place that I have not seen since about the year 2000. Fluehr Park was one of my favorite destination spots while I studied at nearby Holy Family University (then just a College). The idea of walking around a park wasn’t what kept my interest in this area, instead it was one of the few locations in the NE Philly that contained architecture worthy of being built (unlike the cookie cutter crap that we see here all over the place, this was a gem of inspirational beauty).

That place was Eden Hall. Originally built in 1849 it was designed in the French Gothic Revival style by Frank Wills and was used as a convent, church and school for the Society of the Sacred Heart. Sadly the school was closed in the late 1970’s  (financial problems) and was abandoned for years. During that time it had one fire that burned down most of the complex, leaving only the main chapel. The site became a protected park property and funds were being raised in an attempt to restore the old building when in 2006 two fires were set inside (arson, teenagers suspected) and destroyed the roof, interior and remaining combustibles. Finally sometime in 2007 the church was bulldozed and the ground leveled. The site would have been 162 years old as of this article had people cared about their history enough to preserve it. Sadly too many people in Philadelphia have more money to spend on sports venues and player’s jerseys then they have for restoring the few noteworthy and beautiful buildings they live near. Notable people connected with the Chapel include : St John Neumann, aunts of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and St. Katharine Drexel.

Of course I knew nothing of the fires that happened until today. Figuring that I’d visit the church and take some photos for this blog as a recommended site for anyone interested in the nice things left here only to find a field and some sinkholes left me in a state of sadness. Below you will find some of the photos I took of the site in the area where I see stone remains and sinkholes from the water running into the understory. Basically there is nothing left (aside from what an enterprising archeologist may find.

P04-20-11_11.40 P04-20-11_11.28 P04-20-11_11.28[1] P04-20-11_11.29 P04-20-11_11.30 P04-20-11_11.31 P04-20-11_11.33 P04-20-11_11.33[1] P04-20-11_11.34 P04-20-11_11.34[1] P04-20-11_11.35

I found images and the historical happenstances online, which has been paraphrased for your enjoyment. Some of the building images are below and links follow to my sources should any of you desire to learn more about this wonderful tragedy. Alas one less reason to live here or to care about the community.

87266672_9380fcca16 EHC2 EHC 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0012 0022 CryptDoorOutside

Eden Hall Chapel

Arson at Eden Hall Chapel

Northeast Times Article on Eden Hall

Better images of Eden Hall

Eden Hall Slideshow

Jerks that are selling pieces of Eden Hall

Northeast Times Article, a month later about the arson


Written by Josecito

April 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I remember that place… Erin and I used to go there years ago, when she still lived with her parents. We used to take her dogs for walks in the park. I always thought it was so pretty. I didn’t know it was gone. Kind of a bummer. Would have made for some amazing pics.


    April 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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