Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Divine Blight

Talk about irresponsible development. Willis G. Hale's Lorraine Apartments, completed in 1894, or the Divine Lorraine Hotel as it is currently known to locals, sits vacant and gutted at the corner of North Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue. Sold by the Universal Peace Movement Mission's Mother Divine in 2000, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 as a Civil Rights and architecturally significant historic landmark, the Divine Lorraine had been preserved in original condition until it was sold to developer Michael Treacy, Jr. in 2006 who gutted all of the building's original details and fixtures in a misguided attempt to redevelop the site as condos. Prior to Treacy's involvement in the Divine Lorraine, it stood vacant but minimally deteriorated in large thanks to one Universal Peace Movement Mission's member to act as it's live-in caretaker, and presumably in thanks to a silent respect for a building a struggling community could take pride in. Now gutted of it's heart, the Divine Lorraine stands vulnerable to the elements and vandals, unprotected it stands covered in graffiti hoping to be saved before nature reclaims it.

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