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© 2019 by The Curious Uptowner

Farewell to another piece of Harlem's history

March 7, 2018

 

A major piece of Harlem's history is now rubble: the former Childs Memorial Temple Church, famously the site of Malcolm X's eulogy, has been demolished.

 

The church, then known as Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, agreed to conduct the funeral after a number of others declined due to fears of violence (Malcolm X had been a leader of the Nation of Islam, until he repudiated the movement in 1964; he was assassinated the following year). A special Muslim service was held there in February 27, 1965, and was peaceful to the end.

 

 

The building itself has an even longer history: it opened as the Bluebird Theater in 1921, and subsequently became the Ramona Theater, then the Teatro Granada, and finally the Lido Theater. In 1951 Dr. Alvin A. Childs bought the space and turned it into the church that would go down in history.

 

 

Two years ago it was announced that the building, 1763-1771 Amsterdam Avenue near 147th Street, was unsalvageable and was going to be torn down. While it stood vacant and awaited the wrecking ball, it was marketed as a mixed-use development that would have room for condos as well as provide a new home for the church.

 

 

The photos here capture what remained of the building in December of 2017 and February of 2018 (the picture with no roof). The top image is via Google Maps and was taken in October 2017.

 

According to The New York Times, the old church's chandeliers were removed for safekeeping and a chapel in the new church will incorporate some architectural artifacts, so maybe a few bits of history will remain after all.

 

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