Baltimore: Cathedral of the Annunciation
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This beautiful Byzantine style church at 24 W Preston Street looks as if it should belong to a Greek Orthodox congregation, right? And it does, but it was not the original owner of this wonderful structure. Here's the story.
Baltimore architect Charles Cassel designed this building, which was constructed in 1888, as a Protestant church. By the 1930's, the congregation's treasury had dwindled to the point where it decided to abandon the property.
Now to another timeline: A flow of Greek immigrants to Baltimore began in the 1890s. In 1906, the community established the "Evangelismos" (Ευαγγελισμός) Greek Orthodox Church, and three years later, bought an existing church at Homewood Avenue and Chase Street. You can see that building, now home of the Highway Christian Apostolic Church, here via Google Street View. The Gothic, pointed-arch windows and rectangular buttresses don't exactly advertise "Greek Orthodox," do they?
Now back to the West Preston Street church: After it had been abandoned, Baltimore City condemned the property, and the building was then set to be demolished and replaced by a gas station. The Evangelismos congregation successfully appealed to the mayor to revoke the demolition permit and to be allowed to purchase the church. So for $28,500, the growing Evangelismos Greek Orthodox congregation now had a building that fit beautifully with its heritage.
In 1966, the congregation changed its name to "Annunciation," the English translation of Evangelismos, And in 1975, the church was elevated to a cathedral with the seating of Bishop Silas.
In 1992, the Maryland Commission on Historic and Architectural Preservation designated the Cathedral as an historic site.
Better the Cathedral than a 1930's gas station.