Built in 1850, The Freeman Avenue United Church of Christ was first known as the First German Reformed Church. In 1918, they dropped the German part of the name due to the spreading anti-German sentiment following WWI. Good move, considering what happened about 20 years later.
The church began to struggle financially in the 60’s, as the changing demographic and economic decline of the neighborhood saw a marked decrease in attendance. That’s a polite way of saying that a church that previously had a congregation of mostly white, German-American citizens did not fair well, for obvious reasons, in what became a predominantly black neighborhood.
The First German Reformed Church in its early operational days, c/o cincinnativiews.net
The church currently, c/o google maps
The church closed in 1970 and moved to a new location. The building sat empty and decaying and slated for demolition until it was purchased in 2011. Fundraisers were held and repairs began, but ultimately the project stalled out, and the church remains abandoned.
The church enjoyed a brief yet questionable resurgence as The Church of Rock n’ Roll, as featured in the Foxy Shazam music video for “I Like It.” By brief, I mean as long as it took them to film that ridiculous spectacle. I want to hate Foxy Shazam on general principle of taste, but “The Streets” is catchy as fuck.
Here are two screenshots from the music video because why not:
And back to the rest of my photos:
To see more photos of the First German Reformed Church, go to the Flickr set.
Disclaimer: If any information on this post is incorrect, if you have more info or would otherwise like to tell me something, feel free to contact me.