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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

German Reformed Church

Aside from the decline of industry in the US, the declines in both population density and church attendance have left behind another architectural remnant of the past: churches.

Cincinnati German Reformed Church

The interior of a German Reformed Church in Cincinnati's West End.

While the abandoned churches of Detroit are amongst some of the largest and most beautiful works of architecture forgotten by the modern world, Cincinnati possesses a few smaller examples of these buildings that once served as neighborhood institutions. This article details a visit to one of those examples, the abandoned First German Reformed Church.

Cincinnati German Reformed Church

The steeple of the church is just one of many that peak out above the buildings of the West End and Over-the-Rhine.

Nearly 35 years of neglect has left this West End church in the state it is now. While there are few signs of vandalism or theft, the openness to the elements has allowed water and wind to wreak havoc on the interior of the masonry and wood structure. The visit by Gordon Bombay and myself was a treacherous one; rotting floors and water damage made walking around a difficult task. We watched our steps, making sure to stay on the floor joists and runners of the stairs, an extremely important part of exploring any older wooden buildings.

Cincinnati German Reformed Church

The visit took place on a freezing, but beautiful day.

Cincinnati German Reformed Church

The beautiful but slight details made certain parts of the church very impressive.

The beauty and scale that churches possess shows the level of importance they once had to culture and society. Their locations and proximity show the population density our cities once had. What they look like now shows just how much those things have changed.

Cincinnati German Reformed Church

The once boisterous street that runs beside the First German Reformed Church.


Paul Wilham said...

I've been by this church several times and wondered what it was like inside. Thanks.

As a historic restoration consultant, I am in shock that no one has restored this. There is similar sized church in Indy in Fletcher place that was converted to 4 luxury condos. It was controversial to convert a church to condos and they were so much more expensive that the surrounding houses. Similar situation to West end. BUT they have sold 2 of the 4 units. Pics here of one of the units


I wish Cincinnati had more 'vision'! That building is amazing!

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