Dear PoP – Horses Ass Award? Church Suggestion

“Dear PoP,

My phone picture doesn’t do this building justice, but the Fisherman’s Church near the intersection of Georgia and New Hampshire deserves an award. This historic building was one of the first movie theaters in DC and now it is a true blight to the neighborhood. What is hard to see here is the attempts at several different paint colors (purple, Orange, brown), but the new addition of a chunk of plastic siding is a real beauty.

Here is hoping that when the economy gets better, somebody will make them an offer they can’t refuse. This place is amazing on the inside and would make a great DC Cinema Draft house.”

I can’t nominate this as a Horses Ass Award because it is a functioning church. They also have put a bit of money in for internal renovations. A horse ass award is reserved for buildings that have fallen into disrepair and are vacant with no known improvements for months/years. This church actually has a really interesting historyas you noted. It used to be a theater in the 1920s.

I do happen to know that developers have tried to purchase this property a few times but were unable to. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a DC Cinema Draft house somewhere but at the moment this is an active church that is a positive member of the community so I wish them and their congregation well.

What do you guys think – do you feel this property is a blight?

51 Comment

  • What makes you say it is a positive member of the community?

  • This property is a blight and needs to be sold to a developer. It is absurd how so many churches in DC don’t give a rat’s crap about the neighborhoods in which they reside.

  • Distastefully Ugly != Blight

  • AMEN!!! Just ask yourself– WWJD??? (What would Jemal Do?!).

  • I think it would be a great indoor market, personally. It’s a pretty big building, at a great location. Imagine if Petworth had it’s own little version of Eastern Market! It’s a shame the church can’t or won’t keep the building looking its best, but it is far better that it’s used for the community in some way than if it were abandoned.

  • UGLY – You would think a Church would want to be a better neighrbor but it just go to show you… its a racket that can’t pay for itself.

    Please someone buy it.

  • I think churches have occupied a lot of buildings that fell into disrepair…see another example at the corner of Georgia and Taylor. That building was for sale for a while for $4 million, so no surprise that no one took them up on the offer.
    It is really frustrating though to have business locations taken up by churches, but I have to concur with PoP that declaring them a blight is going too far. It’s a sign of the economic times when storefronts are occupied by churches – at some point the area will rebound enough that the property owners will decide it’s time to seek new tenants. If the churches own the properties, then they could make a significant profit and build or occupy a real church building elsewhere.

  • “this is an active church that is a positive member of the community so I wish them and their congregation well”

    PoP is just terrified of the Church goers getting pissed off at him.

  • It’s a shame, because in the old pictures you highlighted at one point, the windows made the building look like a million bucks (or, I guess, a billion bucks?). But, I can understand why a church like that wouldn’t invest in windows considering the kids in the neighborhood and their penchant for throwing rocks through my windows.

    Don’t know anything about the particular church that meets there, but better somebody be using it than have it fall into total disrepair and abandonment.

    Boy, you have to admit that it’s nice that we’ve gotten to the point of being annoyed by just ugly buidlings!

    • I don’t think the windows are damaged; i think they’re boarded up to protect them. I’ve walked by when the doors are open and you can see the beautiful stained glass windows from the inside.

  • The plastic siding appeared to repair a hole in the wall.

  • speaking of vacant eye-sores, what about the front facade of the apartment building on mt. pleasant st. that burned down ages ago & is now held up by I-beams behind it? when i first moved to the neighborhood last summer, it was covered with scaffolding in front. around new year’s, they put up the I-beams & removed the scaffolding, but i haven’t noticed anything since….

  • I for one think we should start taxing churches their fair share. That would lead to plenty of old crumbling churches getting reclaimed and put to uses other than brainwashing. STOP SUBSIDIZING INSANITY!

  • All churches are a blight… especially the pathetically rundown one’s that are on EVERY CORNER in Petworth and DC in general.

    • All churches are a blight
      I couldn’t disagree more.
      in fact, i find that statement ridiculously moronic.

      • I often wonder if the anti-theists realize they’re every bit as obnoxious as the evangelicals…

        “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?” – Benjamin Franklin

  • dc draft cinema house should go in the vacant building on columbia rd in adams morgan where the old cvs is.,+Washington+D.C.,+District+of+Columbia,+20010&ll=38.924847,-77.038845&spn=0.001651,0.003433&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=38.924945,-77.039149&panoid=9ef6PbS9DMF6RqnQ1iAVVg&cbp=12,206.38,,0,5.14

    • Back in the day that was the Ontario Theater-one of DC’s first run movie houses. My husband remembers waiting in line on a cold winter night and the ushers brought out a trolly of hot chocolate for the waiting patrons. Can you imagine?

    • Yes! It’s vacant now, so this is the perfect opportunity.

  • I agree that churches should be taxed as any other money-making business, and I’d rather see a nice property like this put to just about any other use.

  • Ohh– so it was once a theater! that makes sense I alwys wondered why didn’t they use it as such– or as a cinema– a mkovie theater would be such a huge driver for development–because it will get economic push locally and from other neigborhoods—its so cumbersome to go down to Gallery place or drive up to Gtown to watch a movie…. anyone knows how to suggest this?

  • They should either turn it into an indoor rodeo with free pony rides and water park for kids, or tear it down and build a Mega-Costco. You decide. How they’ve managed to need a building that size is anyone’s guest, just please tell them to stop blocking my alley on the random church days they hold! -Buddhist

  • U guys know that the big yellow Reggae House on Park Road and Sherman is on sale? including the big lot! that is another potential place for an entertainment project

  • Why is everything 1-2 blocks south of the Metro tagged as being in Petworth? Everything 1-2 block north of the Metro isn’t equally tagged in Park View.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Mr. Joe – Have a beer or go take a walk if this is your biggest concern.

    • It’s because no one outside of the neighborhood knows about the neighborhood and frankly, doesn’t care. Unless they change the name of the Metro, it’ll all be Petworth.

  • This points to the larger issue of housing religious communities in our neighborhoods. There are some congregations that are simply too small and poor to maintain the upkeep of some classic buildings. Meanwhile, other congregations are busting at the seams and causing major weekend disruptions for neighbors. But, they can’t get permitting for a larger building. Still others get approval to build mammoth buildings in residential neighborhoods. There needs to be more deliberate consideration of housing religious communities. We have smart growth in all other areas except in this respect.

  • Church is one of DCs thriving cottage industries. Have you noticed that storefronts and residential buildings all over the city are turned into churches. I love churches that aren’t churchy. I am going to turn my house into a church and invite my friends and old ladies with money to join and I won’t even have to pay taxes. My church is going to be cool – instead of coffee hour, we’ll have cocktail hour. I’m going to name it Churchy Church of Bloody Mary. Communion will be extra special! Instead of wine we’ll do jello shooters, instead of wafer we’ll have Triscuit with gruyere. Who’s in?

  • I thought this post was about the building. People are tough on churches. Some congregations have questionable leadership. Others provide a lot of services to seniors especially those who do not get out much. I live in DC a church is on my corner. Yes there are a lot of Maryland tags but the congregation is mostly pleasant. The church also donates space for Civic association meeting. The Pastor seems to be a decent guy.

  • The hypocrisy on this site is hilarious! Liberal ideology is about as deep as a puddle! For all of the “social justice” and “spreading the wealth” chatter, your opinions simply romance your narcissism.

    Case in point: this was a congregation of poor and working poor immigrants and genuine “locals.” You know, the people that renovate your cookie-cutter row homes and shoe-box condos; operate the lunch counter; clean your cubicle; and hope for a better life for their children.

    You’re happy to call “The House” a good neighbor. But you mock the material poverty of the very ones who seek to re-build those unfortunate enough to have been nearly destroyed by “The House” and all it represents?

    Moreover, if this was the building of a “gay church,” you’d have nothing to offer but high praise! You might even donate to the renovation fund in order to demonstrate your “tolerance” and “open-mindedness.”

    Be honest…

    • blester01

      You obviously don’t live next to a church since you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. It is not about the socio-economic status of the patrons; since they are typically middle class anyway. It is the fact that they mostly commute from Maryland and take up our parking spots and double park to block our roads on a daily basis (also they are the worst at parallel parking). Do people really need to go to church every night for god to love you???

      Good try on trying to be a conservative deuche though.

      This building should be eligible for a horses ass now that I have seen a photo of what it used to look like; church or not. Just because it is outside the jurisdiction of the city doesn’t mean it can ignore the will of the community. It is another example of great architecture from the 20’s and it should be restored. Hopefully in a couple of years someone can buy them out.

      • I believe there are tile window surrounds under the pasted over arched areas on the building —it would be nice to see the original details of the building restored!

      • Actually, I owned property within two blocks of that church for nearly five years. And the original post was about that church specifically, not churches in CH and/or Petworth or dc churches in general. I most certainly understand the issue with non-dc residents commuting into the district for services and, as a result, causing periods of over crowding. But, once again, this issue is not germane to the original post.

        So, blester, what is your proposal for poor congregations that cannot afford to renovate and/or restore their buildings according to your architectural standards?

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