Conservationists are working to save Atlanta’s historic English Avenue Church

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One of the most interesting buildings on English Avenue – a four-walled stone structure with no windows or roof but filled with potential for the historically black community – may soon be protected from demolition.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission will decide whether to grant historic protections to Old St. Mark AME Church on James P. Brawley Drive.

Why is this important: Neighborhoods experiencing rapid gentrification like English Avenue and Vine City are particularly at risk of losing homes, churches, and other buildings that have played a special role in the communities’ history.

Catch up fast: Designed by architect Charles Hopson and built in 1920 with Stone Mountain granite “hand-assembled like a puzzle with beaded mortar joints”, the building played an important role in the religious, civic and social life of residents. of English Avenue over the decades.

  • St. Mark AME moved into the building – originally the home of the Western Heights Baptist Church – in 1948. The stone structure has hosted graduation ceremonies for high school students and entertainments like wifeless weddings and Tom Thumb weddings.

The church moved to Campbellton Road in the late 1970s, and in the mid-1990s Winston Taylor, pastor and architect, purchased the site. Taylor partnered with the Atlanta Preservation Center to gain historic designation status to protect the building from demolition.

And after: Taylor is working with Georgia Tech students to design a glass roof for the structure, he told the Saporta Report, and he hopes the landmark designation will help raise funds.

Editor’s note: We have corrected the street name where the historic building is located to James P. Brawley Drive.

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