TREMONT TEMPLE | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2013
A developer has proposed demolition of the historic Tremont Temple Baptist Church building at 860 Forsyth St. Historic Macon is opposed to the demolition of the church, and intends to work together with the congregation to find a solution that will help sell the congregation sell the church and preserve the current building.
The building is listed as a contributing building to the National Register Macon Historic District, meaning the National Park Service has determined that the building is "worthy of preservation." The building is also within a Design Review District, requiring that the owner obtain a permit prior to demolition. Macon's Design Review Board deferred the request for demolition, and in a very unusual move the developer has decided to proceed to the Planning and Zoning Commission without a Design Review opinion. The meeting will be held on November 12, 2013 at 1:30pm on the 10th floor of the Willie C. Hill Annex 682 Cherry St. Historic Macon will attend this meeting on behalf of our Trustees and members and ask the Planning and Zoning Commissioners to send the demolition request back to the Design Review Board for an opinion before making a determination, which is standard procedure.
Historic Macon feels strongly that the building has a viable economic despite its current condition. We look forward to assembling a rehabilitation plan, developing financial pro formas and locating a preservation-minded buyer to rehabilitate this important historic building. Should the item appear on a Design Review Board agenda, we will notify you through a Preservation Alert and request that you attend to help us discourage demolition.
According to Macon's Black Heritage: The Untold Story, the cornerstone of the current building was laid in 1900 and the church erected at a cost of $25,000. The congregation figured importantly in civil rights history in Macon, according to Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation in the American Century. Motivated by a meeting of the Georgia Committee on Interracial Cooperation a white couple joined the church in 1947, causing a legal controversy as to whether that act was even legal. In 1963, Rev. Elisha B. Paschal (then-pastor of Tremont) furthered the local movement by volunteering to get arrested to integrate city buses.
Each and every historic building is irreplaceable, and the restrictions on this building have been in place for decades recognizing its unique history. We intend to use these restrictions that a generation of preservationists fought so hard to institute to prevent demolition.