A Philly Story: The Cathedral

In keeping with the theme of church related items from Philly, I want to feature some from the another area congregation.  Like private homes and commercial buildings, houses of worship occasionally take on updates and restoration.  The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception had in the basement a collection of no longer used items from the church, social rooms, rectories and class rooms.

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image source: http://ukrcathedral.com/about.html

The Cathedral is located in the Northern Liberties district in Philadelphia and was erected in 1966. This building replaced the old Cathedral Church at that time.  Inside and out the Cathedral is gorgeous but as the website says, “the completion of the interior embellishments is an ongoing process which will continue over the years.”

Some changes are choices and some are not.  It is common practice for Catholic Churches to have displays of small candles for the faithful to use as part of a devotional prayer.  More and more, these real candles are no longer used in churches for insurance purposes and are being replaced with electric or battery powered prayer candles. The Cathedral is one of those places that has decided to switch, and now these beautiful displays are available in our store.

The large gold displays have 102 small holders in the center and 20 large holders on the sides and across the top.  In the center of the top is an electrified light socket under the cap and cross.  They measure 65″ wide and 21 1/2″ deep and have small casters.  We have 2 of these.  They do not include glass votive inserts or candles.

The one smaller iron display has 40 small holders and 5 large ones across the back.  The base is twisted and scrolled wrought iron.  There is a slot for donations on the front.  The total dimensions for this smaller one are 28.25″wide by 44″high and 15.5″deep.

I hear you, you aren’t a Church, so what the heck would you do with a piece like this.  No worries.  We have some ideas…wine rack. cups with craft supplies. bird feeder.  Or how about this one?  Take the top section off.  Put the candle holder in your unused or faux fireplace and partially fill it with candles.  Now it looks like you have a blazing fire.  You can use the base as an aquarium stand, plant stand, or garden art.  Can you imaging dozens of tiny herbs growing in them?

Let’s see what else we have acquired from the cathedral.  A few short pews that are 54″ long, shown below. The back is 32″ high, the seat is 17″ off the floor in the front. Several have kneelers attached but they can be removed. Stained and varnished oak.  They are a nice size for a front entry or mud room where people are taking shoes on and off.

 

Holy water “urn” with a stainless steel upper canister marked HOLY WATER on the top handle and an aluminum legged base. It stands 45″ high and could have many reuse options (with no disrespect intended to its original use).  Exceptionally clean and unmarred.  Lemonade?

Next up: front row pew.  Paneled section in varnished oak with capped ends, kneeler, Bible holder on back side.  Front side is also beautiful paneled wood, no seats.  8′ 1″ long by 38″ tall at end cap.

The Cathedral housed a school for many years so we now have several chairs that have an arm with a tablet table, all right handed. Some seats have numbers stenciled on the back, and the traditional school desk carvings.  Wood is varnished and frames are sturdy metal.

This is interesting…a 49″ tall octagon cupola or dome. Brilliant and metallic colors, beautifully painted, tiered with an onion top that may have been the base for a cross(?).  It is quite a stunning piece.

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Assorted tall metal candle holders originally used in the main sanctuary.  Very sturdy.  Could be spray painted a new more inspiring color.  Would make great bird bath stands.

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This is a special find.  A bell/gong from the church.  This was used during special services and events.  Made of bronze it has a sacred sounding tone when rapped with the wooden mallet.

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We would like to take the opportunity to that the community at the Cathedral for their dedication to reuse by offering these materials to Restore of Philadelphia.  Let’s give them new life!

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A Philly Story: Narberth Church

In March of this year, Restore of Philadelphia salvaged this vacant church which had been the oldest house of worship in that borough until the new owner decided to replace it with apartments.  ReHouse has now acquired some of the unique architectural details that formerly called this church home.  Here is the story.
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image source: Google Street View
The Baptist Church of the Evangel, was the oldest house of worship in the Philadelphia borough of Narberth.  Building for the church began in 1891 and was completed the next year.  This is the original structure.
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Image source: S. F. Hotchkin, Rural Pennsylvania in the Vicinity of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, George W. Jacobs & Co., 1897), p. 55; collection of the Lower Merion Historical Society
The church building was enlarged in 1924 to its final size.  An article from the Our Town paper of Narberth, PA on January 28, 1928 offers the following view of the beautiful grey stone building.  You can read the entire 34th anniversary article HERE.
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In an effort to save as much history as possible, Restore of Philadelphia was able to salvage what they could before the building came down.  Their original blog post is still available HERE.
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image source: Restore of Philadelphia
They removed the “enormous pair of doors that entered the congregation room.  Each door is 33″ wide and with the pair together in the frame, the overall width is 6′ and the height is 93″.  Each door is 3 full inches thick with massive hinges.  The jamb frame was buried in the floor about 5 or 6 inches to stabilize the pair.  Gorgeous, massive, impressive, functional, endless possibilities.  Trim for the door stopped at wainscoting on the other side and was inside the tile on this face side.  All parts that can make it work again are here and ready to reinstall.”  $3880.

 

Other doors from the church include some interesting sizes and hardware.  These 6 panel saloon style doors are from bathroom stalls.  They measure 33″ wide and only 66.5″ high.  They include decorative handles, side stoppers, and swinging hinges.  We received 3 of the 4 that were removed.

33w x 66.5h. #91844. $245each.

Next we have some 5 panel doors in the same dark finish solid pine.  The church originally had 26 of these doors throughout and in varying conditions.  We have at least 4 with the natural wood finish as shown and several that have been painted on one or both sides.  One has 2 hearts cut out near the top.  I wonder what room that went to. These do not include hardware.  Lastly, there are a few with ventilation panels on the bottom half.

29.75w or 36w x 84h. #various. $95-120

 

Q & A with ReHouse Recovery

Customer: How do you get all this stuff?

ReHouse: One way is that we go get it! Our Acquisitions Manager is tasked with making and taking daily calls regarding salvage jobs for ReHouse Recovery.

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Customer: How does he know which ones will result in something store-worthy?

ReHouse:  Before taking on any job we request photos and details about it.  For a large job that cannot be adequately represented in just a few photos, the Acquisitions Manager will go out to the location for a preview.  He will take notes and additional photos of items he feels we can save. We work with our customers to clearly determine what is available as part of each salvage job.

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Customer: How do you narrow it down from there?

ReHouse: As with any business there are factors that go into choosing jobs.  How far away is it? How many employees will be needed? Can we take the van or will it require the larger but less fuel efficient truck? How much effort will it take to remove the items? How long will the removal take?  What is the condition of the items?  Is there anything unique or hard to find?  Do customers want the resulting merchandise?  Using a special formula created by the Finance Dept. we can conclude which jobs to pursue.

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Customer: Once you get there how do you know what to bring back?

ReHouse: We have lists upon lists of items we typically look for.  Our primary focus is reusable architectural items such as doors, trim, woodwork, windows, corbels, columns, etc.  We also have an ever growing customer wish list which includes everything from a vague description of something someone’s grandmother used to have to stained-glass, gothic-arched window with specific colors, design, and measurements.  Once in a while we will find something so unusual or strange or ugly we just have to bring it back to the store and see what happens.

Customer: Do you only salvage houses?

ReHouse: No.  We salvage many types of buildings and for different reasons.  Sometimes we go to single or multi-family homes that are being renovated or torn down.  These often have hardwood flooring, gumwood trim, built-in cabinets, leaded glass, wood framed windows, fireplace mantels, hardware, and other architectural details.  Sometimes we go to a restaurant or hotel that is being updated or closed. Here we find multiples of items people often ask for such as mirrors, large frames, chairs, tables, and light fixtures.  Each type of location has its own special findings, its own focus, but the mission remains the same… “ReHouse strives to better the environment by reusing antique, vintage, and modern building materials that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.”

 

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Customer: What have you salvaged lately?

ReHouse:  Our most recent job was in Spencerport where a customer of ours is planning to take down his century old horse barn.  Here, we were given the ok to remove whatever we needed, and our focus was barn wood which is currently very popular in home décor trends.  We also brought back main exterior barn doors, stall doors, and lots of hardware.

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Customer: Isn’t it dangerous?

ReHouse: Life is dangerous.  Salvaging is no more or less so.  The employees that go out on our salvage jobs have been well trained in all aspects of safety when doing such work.  Locations are checked before any work starts to make them aware of any possible dangers.  They are encouraged to work safely and may even call off a job if it presents an uncomfortably risky situation for anyone.

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Customer: How long does it take?

ReHouse: Sometimes it is easy to know how long a job will take.  If we go to a house that only has kitchen cabinets we can usually estimate 1-2 hours for removal and loading.  In the case of the barn it was hard to know.  We scheduled 2 days of recovery in which we were able to remove all stall doors, main doors, hardware and other wooden items that were not “tied down.”  At the end of 2 days we reevaluated, talked to the owner, and are now able to return for one more day in order to cut out as much barn wood as possible.

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Customer: What did you end up with from the barn?

ReHouse: Enjoy these photos of the salvaged goodies that will soon be available for purchase.

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