That’s all that’s left...one single brick.
Historic preservation isn’t always easy. Convincing others of the value and inherent beauty in buildings that many, if not most, consider an eyesore is challenging.
It’s always difficult to lose a historic building when in your mind it was so easy to see its potential and viability if it were only restored.
It’s even more difficult when you form an attachment to a particular building, like I did with the beautiful St Andrews A.M.E. Church on Rayen Avenue in Youngstown.
I only discovered it last year, randomly driving down the street. I remember making my boyfriend pull into the nearest parking lot so we could go exploring, and while he wasn’t too keen on the idea of trespassing, we both fell in love with the church. Many times over the past year I’ve gone back to explore, even taking Lady J and my nephew on one of my urban explorations.
There’s beauty, even in decay, but I envisioned so much more for this abandoned but stately church.
Built in 1910 as a synagogue, it’s cornerstone proudly displayed the Hebrew year 5671. Decades later it became an African Methodist Episcopal Church before being abandoned in 2004.
Over the past year I’ve called and pleaded, tried to call in favors and attempted to bring attention to what potential sat in plain sight. To no avail.
It took me some time to work up the nerve to visit after it was demolished. I was a jumble of emotions, angry, sad, but mostly confused as to why people can’t see the benefit to preserving our history.
And that’s what’s left, one single brick. 119 years of history, memories, worship, change, dreams, and potential, all reduced to one single brick.
It may not mean much but I’ll treasure it always along with my own memories of one Youngstown’s greatest lost treasures. R.I.P.
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