The Kraemer Paper Building on Clay Street between Jefferson Street and Market Street has been slowly crumbling over the last few years. The building is actually an old German church with a stone sign reading “Zions Kirche, Der Ersten Deutschen Bischoffl Methodisten Gemeinde. Gebaut 1843, U. Vergrossert, A.D. 1859” meaning “Zions Church, First German Methodist Church in the City, Founded 1843, U. Vergrossert, Built 1859.”
The church sits at the entrance to the alley, leaving its brick northern wall exposed to the perils of autos and trucks driving down the narrow alley span. Over the last several months, it appears the building has been struck multiple times by some vehicle dislodging bricks on the building’s corner and buttresses. Some of the damage has been hastily repaired while gaping craters are still present on the building’s side. In general, the brickwork on the church needs repair soon. The 150 year old mortar is crumbling and needs tuckpointing badly. With no protection from alley traffic, the problem is bound to get worse.
Currently, the structure is being used as a warehouse for the Kraemer Paper Company, makers of paper towels and other janitorial supplies. The company has no plans to sell the building and maintains an unreasonably steep price for the property when questioned about sales. The building draws much of its beauty from its austere detailing and simple Gothic-arched windows, and would offer a spatial type rarely found in the East Market area, namely a large, open auditorium space no longer functioning as a church. The redevelopment potential is obvious and hopefully the building will find itself in the hands of someone able to care for the historic structure before it’s too late.
These photos were taken over the course of several weeks showing the damage and subsequent repair to a portion of the building. In general, you can see how poor maintenance and no protection from alley traffic (i.e. bollards) is causing major damage to the structure.
That “repair” job may have done more harm than good if they used portland cement based mortar. That building needs straight lime putty and river sand mortar. I hate to see a building neglected like that, but the repair job is just as bad.