Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Life for Two Old Sites

Now that my own life is starting to get back to a regular rhythm and I've completed (for now) my two month trek through the Cranston family tree, it's time to catch up on a few news items that have popped up recently. I'm sure that many of you have seen some or all of these stories, but I'd like to take the opportunity point a few of them out and say a few words of my own. Of the three I want to bring up, we've got good news, bad news, and good news that at first might seem like bad news.

The first one is the most recent story to appear, showing up in the News Journal on Monday, January 12. According to the article, Trinity Community Church, which recently purchased the Coffee Run Church site on Lancaster Pike, will submit plans to once again have a place of worship on the site of Delaware's first Catholic Church. Trinity founder Steve Trader feels that the property is holy ground, and that, "God made this a church."

Trinity's plans are much smaller than those submitted (and ultimately withdrawn) by the Odyssey Charter School. The picture included in the article, which I assume is a rendering of the proposed church, shows buildings designed to fit in well in the area. Trader seems to have great reverence for the history of the property, and it sounds as if the site is in very good hands. Ever since the Cuba Rock post a few months back I've been wanting to work on another post about Coffee Run and St. Mary's. The original Fr. Kenney story touched on the history of the church, but I believe there's more of a story there to tell. Hopefully I'll be able to get around to that soon

I also would like to point out the other piece of good news we just got, thanks to commenter Tharanstudios. He informed us that the owners of the Arundel Apartments are getting ready to put the centuries-old Joseph Ball House to good use. He tells us, "[T]he Joseph Ball house is slated for a huge renovation and should be completed by the fall of 2015. It will become the Arundel Apartments Clubhouse. They plan to renovate the existing stone structure and build off the right side and back of the house." He says that the house's historical value kept it around, and that the owners were hoping to be able to use it someday. It sounds like they plan on keeping it as period-accurate as they can.

While each of these stories is slightly different, they're both welcomed good news. As Denis noted, it seems like it's more common these days for old, abandoned properties to just be left alone until they deteriorate enough that they have to be torn down. Seeing sites such as these get new life and new purpose, while retaining their historical significance, is as good a reason as any to keep plugging along and uncovering our local history. While I'm not in any way saying I had anything to do with these stories, I can't help but feel that the more people know about the history of our region and it's sites, the less likely those sites are to disappear. Let's make sure we keep getting the word out!

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