Forum Connect

Advice regarding saving an historic sacred site after church was illegally demolished.

  • 1.  Advice regarding saving an historic sacred site after church was illegally demolished.

    Posted 01-26-2020 13:52
      |   view attached
    Preservation friends,
    The Rutherford B H Yates Museum, Inc. has been engaged for 24 yrs trying to preserve a 40 block National Register Historic District-TCP, in Freedmen's Town-4th Ward, Houston Texas.
    When the area was designated as a National Register Historic Place,in 1985, it had 568 Contributing historic structures including 2 miles of brick streets and 13 historic churches.   Over 500 structures have been demolished and only 6 churches remain and the brick streets are still in jeopardy of removal.

    The RBHYates Museum has only been able to save 6 houses on 10 lots (archaeology sites).  We were not able to stop the demolition of the churches, but we have done thorough documentation of their destruction.  

    One historic church, Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church was demolished without the permission of the congregation.   The City violated their ordinance, the State and Fed. laws when they demolished the church.     After the demolition, the city applied a demolition lien on the property.  That lien has grown and the members fear that they will lose the Sacred Site.  
     The congregation with the help of volunteers and donors, created a Prayer Garden and a Labyrinth on the sacred site.      Just as their ancestors did, the members of the congregation have held religious services outside when weather permits.   This site was included in the nomination of Freedmen's Town as a "Site of Memory Associated to the UNESCO-Slave Route".   

    Mt. Carmel MBChurch is a National Register Listed site, a Texas State Historic Land Mark, a City Protected Landmark, and has a State of Texas Archaeology Trinominal Registration.  
    The officers of the church are mostly retired teaches with limited income. The loss of their church has caused them an emotional and financial hardship.  

    Urgent!   We welcome your preservation advice to save the sacred site of Mt. Carmel.  
    Catherine Roberts
    Co-founder/Board of Directors of the Rutherford B H Yates Museum, Inc. PO Box 130726, Houston, Tx. 77219-0726    www.rbhy.org    rbhyates@gmail.com 


  • 2.  RE: Advice regarding saving an historic sacred site after church was illegally demolished.

    Posted 01-27-2020 11:57
    Catherine - have you reached out to Partners for Sacred Places? I don't know if there is anything they can help with specifically but it is worth a call.

    Here is their webpage; https://sacredplaces.org/

    Priya

    ------------------------------
    Priya Chhaya
    Associate Director, Publications and Programs
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Advice regarding saving an historic sacred site after church was illegally demolished.

    Posted 01-27-2020 12:02
    Dear Ms. Chhaya,
    Thank you.  We will definitely check the Sacred Places site.
    Catherine Roberts (RBHYates Museum) and Lue Williams (Mt. Carmel)