Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Wake for the Last Church in Blandtown

But see, folks used to live in Blandtown and they built some pretty churches.

I'd like to pay my respects to the folks who met here, got married here, got christened and baptized here, who got eulogized here, who ate many fine covered-dish dinners here.

P1020766-2011-10-30-Temple-of-God-1353-Boyd-Ave-Atlanta
The Temple of God, 1353 Boyd Avenue as it stood on October 30, 2011.

Blandtown is now the West Midtown Design District. It's home to the Goat Farm Arts Center, Forsyth Fabrics, Lewis and Sharon Textiles, Myott Studio, and all those cool stores on Huff Road and Ellsworth Industrial. It's also home to a remarkable lake-on-a-hilltop, Reservoir Number 1 on Howell Mill.

But it's no longer home to any churches.


This was the last one. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.


View Larger Map
When you see a lake on a hilltop, you know it ain't natural.


Blandtown is in blue on the NPU D Map. They don't even call it Blandtown anymore.

"Blandtown was named for Felix Bland. Born a slave, he was willed land by his former owner... It was one of the first black settlements around Atlanta after the Civil War. As a community it declined from the 1950s through 1990s" Wikipedia

Now Blandtown is a recovering warehouse light industrial re-purposed to design district. It's practical but nowhere pretty.

P1160878-2013-02-27--Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-dyptic-before-after church
So on one of my take-the-long-way-home drives I turned down Boyd Avenue and found this immaculate little church. It could have been painted that very morning for all I could tell.

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It classed up the whole street, the whole neighborhood.

P1020765-2011-10-30-Temple-of-God-1353-Boyd-Ave-Atlanta-Sign
I presume this was a walk-to church in its day, surrounded by homes. I'd bet nobody from that era lives in Blandtown today. There are a few new condos and apartments, not gentrification, not exactly.

P1020768-2011-10-30-Temple-of-God-1353-Boyd-Ave-Atlanta-Cornerstone-Little-Bethel-AME
They saved the cornerstones: Little Bethel, Greater Bethel, J. A. Hadley, Smooth Ashlar, Prince Hall, J.W. Dobbs.

P1020769-2011-10-30-Temple-of-God-1353-Boyd-Ave-Atlanta-South-Stained-Glass-4-Windows
I took pictures of the windows as best I could. North and south sides had matching symbols.

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I wanted to see inside but there was no one to let me in.

P1160877-2013-02-27--Temple-of-God-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished
When I came back on February 27, 2013, it was gone...buffed. I couldn't find a demolition permit. Georgia Power bought it from the Temple of God Inc.on 03-28-2012 for $315,000, about 1/5 acre.

Myott Studio is across the street so I knocked on the door to see if they knew anything. Myott was there, said they took some pictures and they'd send them to me. Here they are.

Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-2-thanks-Erin-at-Myott-Studio
No fun looking at them. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-2-thanks-Erin-at-Myott-Studio-detail
This is the only way I could see the inside. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-1-thanks-Erin-at-Myott-Studio
Probably a couple of days work. Picture courtesy of Myott Studio.

P1160877-2013-02-27--Temple-of-God-church-1353-Boyd-Ave-Blandtown-Atlanta-demolished-detail
For the Atlanta insiders: I'm facing due east. The straight-line hill with the streetlights is the dam for Reservoir Number 1.

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