CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Half of a historic Black church is gone. Neighbors say Old Mount Carmel Baptist Church had been falling apart for years.
“It’s been needing some attention for a while now,” said west Charlotte neighbor Dana Pettice.
Johnson C. Smith University owns the Campus Street property. Administrators decided to tear much of it down but still preserve parts of the structure.
“Obviously, we want to respect the history of the neighborhood, but we also need to look to the future,” said one neighbor who didn’t want to appear on camera. “And historic buildings really only help the community if they’re taken care of. And this one obviously has not been.”
University officials plan to preserve the church’s bell tower and front-facing façade.
“I’m really happy that they’re keeping the facade there. And the tower, I think that’s what holds the most character,” the neighbor said. “But honestly, we’re excited that we’re not going to have a dilapidated building across the street anymore.”
Queen City News reached out to the Historical Landmark Commission and university officials for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Records from the North Carolina Architects and Builders biographical dictionary date the church to 1918.
“Congregation members built the red brick, gothic revival church themselves from plans drawn by famed Charlotte architect Louis Asbury,” the site says.
The church in the Biddleville community earned local historical landmark status in 1983.
“I knew that it would cost a lot of money for them to go back in there and restore it because it just costs a lot of money to renovate and restore things back to a normal state,” Pettice said. “So probably the best thing to do was going to be to knock it down or people were going to start going up in there and next thing you know, you’ve got some dangerous things happening in there.”
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