Architecture Gone Bad

TOP? Really? Is this a joke?

When the First Church of Christ, Scientist on Cadiz Street opened in 1912, a local paper called it “…one of the most handsome houses of worship in the city and one of the most modern, which will add much to Dallas’s prestige.” Designed in the neo-Classical Revival style by Dallas architectural firm Hubbell and Greene, this building served the Dallas Christian Scientist community for many decades. But by the end of the century, the congregation had dwindled down to one elderly–and eccentric–couple. In 1999, developer Herschel Alan Weisfeld bought the property from the couple. Weisfeld specializes in renovating and re-purposing old, dilapidated properties. This building, under Weisfeld’s enthusiastic direction, would be made-over as the Sara Ellen & Samuel Weisfeld Center, a special events center. Click on the image to enlarge it. Notice how fittingly the new name was carved into the building’s facade.

Unfortunately, the building’s location, on the south end of downtown Dallas, was less than ideal. Patrons emerged from events to find their parked cars had been vandalized. The Event Center became un-eventful, and un-profitable. Apparently–I haven’t verified this–Weisfeld leased the building to the Temple of Prayer.

That is when the Sara Ellen & Samuel Weisfeld Center was disgraced by the new tenants. They painted the letters “TOP” over the bricks near the TOP of the facade. It’s both funny and sad.

But that’s not the end of the story. One day after I took the above photograph, I went to photograph the building from another angle. Already, “TOP” had been painted over and large plastic letters were being installed by the newest tenant or owner. This once majestic building is now the “Eagle’s Nest Cathedral.” Look out below!

A rose by any other name doesn’t always smell so sweet.

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