Northeast Times

Bridesburg Historical Society could soon be homeless

The clos­ure of All Saints Par­ish and the ad­join­ing Mari­an Hall means that the Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety, along with oth­er com­munity groups, will soon need a new place to meet.

The Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety’s cur­rent loc­a­tion in Mari­an Hall, which ad­joins All Saints Par­ish. STAR PHOTO / SAM NE­W­HOUSE

His­tor­ic­al treas­ures, in­clud­ing his­tor­ic­al doc­u­ments about the ori­gin­al ‘Brides­bur­ger’, Joseph Kirk­bride, and a his­tor­ic ca­ri­ca­ture of Brides­burg’s former mail­man, poet and com­munity lead­er Ed Lud­wig, are among the ar­ti­facts that may soon be left out in the cold. 

These rel­ics and oth­ers are part of the col­lec­tion of the Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety, which will lose its home at All Saints Par­ish, 2651 Bucki­us St., as a con­sequence of the Arch­diocese’s re­cent mer­ger of All Saints and St. John Can­ti­us in­to one church, which will be known as St. John Can­it­us Par­ish.

“The truth is, we don’t know where we’ll go,” said Teresa Pyott, 84, the pres­id­ent of the Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety.

While not part of the All Saints Par­ish or­gan­iz­a­tion, the so­ci­ety is one of sev­er­al com­munity groups which use space at All Saints Par­ish, which after 150 years, will hold its last Sunday Mass on Sunday, June 30. 

The Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety holds their monthly meet­ings in Mari­on Hall, which was the ori­gin­al church build­ing at All Saints, ac­cord­ing to “Im­ages of Amer­ica: Brides­burg,” a his­tor­ic photo es­say that Pyott co-wrote.

The so­ci­ety also uses the par­ish base­ment to store its col­lec­tion of hun­dreds of ar­ti­facts from Brides­burg’s his­tory, in­clud­ing books, pho­to­graphs, peri­od­ic­als, rel­ics, memen­toes, knick-knacks, and oth­er items of note.

For now, there’s no evic­tion no­tice on the Brides­burg His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety’s door.

“Des­pite ru­mors be­ing spread by vari­ous people, none of us were told to get out be­fore Ju­ly 1,” said Mi­chael Finn, a His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety mem­ber and All Saints Par­ish lect­or, in an email mes­sage. 

But some sort of move seems to be in­ev­it­able.

As Star re­por­ted in “We’re all go­ing to have to pray to­geth­er,” (June 5, 2013) All Saints Par­ish is mer­ging with St. John Can­ti­us Par­ish, ef­fect­ive Ju­ly 1, as part of a con­sol­id­a­tion planned by the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia. The res­ult­ing St. John Can­ti­us Par­ish will be led by the Rev. Thomas Nasta, cur­rently pas­tor at a church in Stowe, Pa.

Pyott is op­tim­ist­ic that the So­ci­ety will land on its feet, but she said the group has been look­ing for a po­ten­tial new space to set up shop.

De­pend­ing on how the trans­ition pro­ceeds, there have been talks about shift­ing all the com­munity groups to St. John Can­ti­us Church.

“The plan, in gen­er­al, has all the or­gan­iz­a­tions now work­ing out of All Saints to mi­grate to St John’s,” said the Rev. Wil­li­am E. Grogan in an email. “The de­tails will be worked out over the sum­mer.”

Space at All Saints Par­ish is also used by Troop 120 Cub and Boy Scout, Brides­burg Town Watch, and All Saints Seni­or Cit­izens — which, des­pite the name, is not ac­tu­ally as­so­ci­ated with All Saints.

But there’s no guar­an­tee that the His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety’s col­lec­tion could be stored at John Can­ti­us. They also re­quire a meet­ing place that is han­di­capped and eld­er-ac­cess­ible.

“It’s a very sad situ­ation for us, since we were also kicked out of our last place by Dow Chem­ic­al,” Pyott said of the So­ci­ety’s former home at the Brill Street Guard House. 

The So­ci­ety, which Pyott said was foun­ded in 1989, will turn 25 next year.

Pyott is op­tim­ist­ic that a solu­tion will emerge, she said. She even men­tioned the po­ten­tial mu­seum of River Wards ar­ti­facts — ef­forts have been launched to build what’s be­ing called The Penn Treaty Edu­ca­tion­al In­sti­tute — as something that could pos­sibly be­ne­fit the his­tor­ic­al so­ci­ety. 

“We will still have meet­ings, there’s no doubt about that — it’s just a mat­ter of where.” ••

You can reach at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

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