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North Philly Church Makes National Register of Historic Places

McDowell Memorial Presbyterian Church has made the southeast corner of 21st & Cecil B. Moore its home for more than 120 years, and thanks to its architectural significance, it has just been cemented onto the National Register of Historic Places. With the bulk of the structure built between 1891-1893 in Richardson Romanesque style, this church features large rounded arches, Tiffany stained glass windows, a tower that rises several stories over the largely barren neighborhood, and an interior that can still turn some heads.


The McDowell Memorial Presbyterian Church was designed by architects Henry Augustus Sims and J. William Shaw, neither of whom had particularly lengthy careers. However, the style of this church influenced a number of other buildings and religious structures across Philadelphia, many of which were built in Gothic Revival style.

The official statement of significance declares that:

"[The] property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction." All in all, it's a building certainly worthy of some level of protection against demolition and a nice addition to the NRHP for Philadelphia. Large sections of the surrounding neighborhood have been leveled thanks to former mayor John Street's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, but hopefully this church will find some new neighbors soon.

· McDowell Memorial Presbyterian Church [nps.gov]