I posted before about the vandalizing of the old Central Congregational Church a while back. But now yesterday’s blustery weather in Fall River is damaging even more what was once Lizzie Borden’s church. Read about it HERE.
This once beautiful and historically significant edifice is slowly dying. Another once golden weave unravels in the tattered fabric that is Fall River.
Here’s the post I did back in November 2009:
The once beautiful Gothic Glamor Girl of Fall River, the Central Congregational Church on Rock Street, suffered her last years as the Abby Grille. As seen by clicking these images, you get an “up close and personal” view of the progressive decay and neglect to her exterior.
Around the 10th of this month, vandals broke in through a basement door and did extensive damage to the interior of Abby Grille. This structure was the former Central Congregational Church – Lizzie Borden’s church – and was recently auctioned off and remains held by Millenium Bank.
I happened to be driving by at night and noticed a big blue dumpster parked inside the gate. I went in and asked what had happened. Seems the vandals took all 19 fire extinquishers off their mounts and sprayed everywhere. They broke out glass from interior doors, damaged some of the beautiful stained glass, took doors off hinges, scratched and chipped the beautiful woodwork, etc. They left skid marks believed to be from skateboards.
“Gabe” overseeing the cleanup, provided me information on what had happened and allowed me to take pictures. Much was being hauled away in the dumpster.
Up until this sad event, the interior was still basically intact, but now her wounds have scars and injuries that most likely will never be completely healed.
I have to wonder what putz was or is in charge of this property at Millenium Bank. Is it some $60,000 a year “Assistant Vice President of Property Disposition” who hadn’t the foresight to adequately seal and secure the buildings? Did this person not think of sealing all windows, particularly the stained glass? Or did this putz merely say to an administrative aide to buy some new locks for the doors and the gate?
Last summer when they auctioned off the kitchen equipment it pretty much took care of anyone acquiring it for a restaurant because that acquisition and installation expense would be added to the hefty needed repairs cost.
If the Bank had any smarts they would gut the entire building before letting the inevitable wrecking ball knock her down. The woodwork throughout, the organ (estimated value at $65,000), the doors, chandeliers, cabinetry, original hardware, etc. etc. could be auctioned off piecemeal. This would allow the bank to recoup some money back.
Meanwhile this iconic Gothic architecture structure continues in its state of terminal cancer. Abandoned, stripped, raped and spit upon. No one cares enough to save her. Not even the so-called “Preservationists”, as ineffective as their history proves out.
By contrast, in all the years I’ve been going to Fall River (since 1977), I have never even seen grafitti or any type of vandalism to the below murals so familiar to those passing enroute to 92 Second Street.
There are many tangible and intangible assets in Fall River. One of those tangible assets can be found inside the closed and “locked” Kuss Middle School.
This structure houses those fabulous murals painted by John Mann around 1936 as a WPA project. They depict Fall River’s history from the Indian era to the era of the cotton mill. You can read about them HERE. This property is already looking beaten up. Practically screams out: “Invade me! Tear me up inside! Bring your spray cans!” So here’s my own shout- out to Meg Mayo-Brown, Superintendent of Fall River Schools who has direct responsibility for school property:
WHAT ARE YOU AND THE FALL RIVER SCHOOL COMMITTEE DOING TO SAFEGUARD THOSE MURALS? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THEIR FUTURE DISPOSITION?
Inquiries have been made thru proper channels. Let’s hope a lesson is learned here.