by Michael R. Allen
Here is the entrance to the Fourth Baptist Church at 13th and Sullivan in Old North St. Louis. You can see that someone has broken the window at right, and that someone has very poorly attempted to board over the damage. Hint: If the broken area still shows, you haven’t boarded over the damage.
In August 2007, someone threw a rock at the window and caused the spider-web-like broken lines. Neighbors tried to get the owner, a nearly-defunct congregation, to board up the broken window. I cut my hand taping the damage to stabilize the glass. Several Citizens’ Service Bureau complaints led to the congregation’s finally boarding up the broken glass. Then, this December, the other side of the doorway gets the same treatment — from vandal and owner. Neighbors still haven’t seen a full repair.
The church building itself is an important landmark, and deserves better treatment. The congregation does not have the funds to maintain the building; they vacated in 2002. Meanwhile, the building has become a nuisance to neighbors as the congregation refuses to commit to selling and won’t make even small efforts to stay abreast of vandalism. Hopefully Fourth Baptist will board up the broken window and sell their church to someone who will invest in the future of the church and the neighborhood.