By Jason Franklin
The churches of Eliot are a rich historic and cultural asset to the neighborhood. There are at least ten churches in the neighborhood today and most were built in the early 1900’s with Immaculate Heart dating to 1889.
Like the neighborhood, the churches have seen a great many changes over the years as congregations have come and gone with the changing demographics of the surrounding neighborhoods. These old churches are also an interesting study in neighborhood land use with most of the early churches being built without parking and at a scale that fits nicely with the surrounding architecture. Today, you could never legally build any of these churches in the neighborhood without significant parking.
What does it mean to the neighborhood as some of these churches transition from religious uses (St. Mark Baptist Church is for sale) to other private uses? In other neighborhoods, churches have become theaters and private residences. The churches of Eliot are a unique part of our neighborhood and our cultural and historical identity. The next time you take a walk past one, stop to consider its past and potential future.