Monday, August 8, 2016

Now You Don't Have To Tear It Down to Save It: McGruder Street Church

I'd been stalking the McGruder Street Church of God in Christ (1940) for about a decade. It's a little landmark. Here's the deal:

"Most landmarks and focal points in cities - of which we need more, not fewer - come from the contrast of use radically different from its surroundings, and therefore inherently special-looking, happily located to make some drama and contrast of the inherent difference ... noble buildings ... set within the matrix of the city, instead being sorted out and withdrawn into 'courts of honor'"- Page 228, ”The Death and Life of Great American Cities” - Jane Jacobs, Vintage Books Edition 1991

Finally in 2011 I spotted someone entering. I slammed on the brakes and ran after them. This "slam on the brakes and run after them" is NOT always the best method for this sort of thing. But it worked this time.

IMG_5189  2013-09-15-McGruder-Street-Church-of-God-in-Christ west facing stained glass from outside
I learned that zoning and building codes prevented the owners from converting it into a place to live.

Parking was the prime issue. I'm paraphrasing: To make it a place to live they had to add off-street parking. There's just not room. (And that's not all.) So it sat empty and unused.

IMG_5191   2013-09-15-McGruder-Street-Church-of-God-in-Christ west facing stained glass phographed though the glass door

I won't bore you with the details because I don't understand them. Let's just say, what they couldn't do then they can do now.

But that's not what I'm here to blog about.

Last night I ran into Shana Robbins. Her family was connected to this place.

It reminded me that they built a new house across the street that featured views of the church.

20160612_140434 2016-06-12 McGruder Street Church Modern Atlanta Tour MA

Here's the view from the first floor.

20160611_145035 2016-06-11 McGruder Street Church Modern Atlanta Tour MA

Here's the view from the second floor. Bravo: designing to take advantage of  two Old Fourth Ward landmarks.


  1. THAT would be such an awesome "house" to live in. Such a shame the zoning doesn't permit it...but, perhaps in time. Hopefully in time to save it!'re the BEST at showcasing Atlanta buildings many of us (who have lived here a bazillion years) would never have known about. Thank you for your continuous and tenacious blogging about these places. It is appreciated.

  2. much more complicated that what you described. we did alot of code research on this building.


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