The Neighborhood of Fairmount
Philadelphia's Art Museum Area
Saint Nicholas ChurchAfter World War Two, many Eastern Europeans moved into Philadelphia, including people from the Ukraine. The population of Ukrainians became so numerous here in Fairmount that they decided to create their own parish and build their own church. To preserve the customs and language of their country, they also constructed a school for their children.
The church building here at 24th and Poplar Streets is a relatively new structure, built in 1976 to replace the wooden church that stood here since the 1950's. It's Byzantine tower reminds one of the churches in the Old Country, and the icon of Christ above the front door is beautiful.
If you look down 24th Street, you'll see the school building. As the young descendants of the Ukrainian immigrants grew up and left the neighborhood, the population declined. Fewer and fewer students attended the school, until it could no longer raise the tuition needed to remain open.
The church's annual bazaar was held in the auditorium, and you could still get pierogies on Friday afternoons. But the school itself remained unused for over 20 years.
However, the school building is now once again in use. The
Philadelphia Mennonite High School received zoning variances early
in 1998, bought the building, and proceeded with construction work in
preparation for the 1998-99 school year.
There is still a strong (if small) Ukrainian community here in Fairmount. The neighborhood is thankful for the many contributions the Ukrainians have made to the area.
We are especially proud to have a beautiful building like their church here in the Art Museum Area.
If you look across the street, you'll see the wall of Girard College, which we will visit shortly. South College Avenue heads northeast and Poplar Street continues east. The wall that begins on the triangle formed by the intersection surrounds the property of the Philadelphia Nursing Home.
We'll continue east on Poplar until we reach the Smoke Stack at 23rd Street.
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