Quinn Chapel Church (BS File Photo)
Quinn Chapel Church (BS File Photo)
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Quinn Chapel Church (BS File Photo)
Quinn Chapel Church. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

The historic Quinn Chapel Church on the corner of Ninth and Chestnut Streets is losing bricks. Water damage caused by a worn-out roof has caused a small portion of the church’s eastern wall to collapse and suddenly we may have to be concerned for the important structure’s future, given Louisville’s recent track record with preservation.

Parapet damage at Quinn Chapel Church (Courtesy Tipster)
Parapet damage at Quinn Chapel Church. (Courtesy Tipster)

Quinn Chapel Church is owned by the adjacent Chestnut Street Y and at one point was planned to become a community center. The structure is in generally good shape, but the roof must be replaced soon before more significant water damage sets in. We saw earlier this year that the interior is in salvageable shape, but suffered from some water damage as well. As we have discussed time and time again, water is incredibly dangerous for any building and sustained water infiltration can lead to a structure’s demise.

Luckily in this case, the damage isn’t too bad. A similar parapet collapse occurred a couple years ago on Market Street where the Bacon-Debrovy Lofts were once planned. That example has since been fixed. The important thing is to stop the water from penetrating the church’s masonry walls and dissolving the old lime mortar that holds it together.

I put in a call to the Chestnut Street Y and I’ll post a response when I hear back. If funds aren’t currently available for a full-scale renovation, it’s now time to take roof-replacement seriously.

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Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

7 COMMENTS

  1. Copper and downspouts…this was (is) a first rate building and needs to be repaired and preserved. What has the city done to help and encourage preservation?

  2. I just went by there, down 9th street. It’s worse than I first thought, and the pictures indicate. There had been a somewhat small hole in the roof in that area, now there is a large gaping hole with no cover at all. (Of course, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to get up there to place a tarp…that roof is a mess.) I’ll try to go back later when I can get my camera and get a picture of it.

    -Eric

  3. Thank goodness. When I drove by again Wednesday, it almost looked like the hole had grown. This is such a beautiful building, both inside and out, with such a rich and important history. I’d hate to see anything happen to it. It needs to be brought back to life again, and would make a great community center/anchor for the Russell neighborhood as the YMCA had planned. The sanctuary, with its sloped floor and platform would make a great auditorium/stage for local events/speakers/small performances, there is good classroom and/or office space downstairs and up, and a great multi-purpose room.

    -Eric

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