The Richmond Register

Local News

June 23, 2012

Historic home demolished

Will allow for expansion of Richmond church

RICHMOND — A 118-year-old house on West Main Street was demolished in about two hours Saturday morning to make way for a $2.6 million expansion by Richmond’s First Christian Church.

The Queen Anne style brick house was erected in 1894 by Alice Phelps Tribble, her granddaughter, Alice Jane Ballew, said Saturday.

Because the structure was part of the Richmond’s downtown historic zone, approval of the city’s Architecture Review Board was required before it could be altered or demolished.

Examination of the historic home showed it to be structurally unsound, said Dr. Betsy Goehrig, First Christian’s senior minister. That led the review board to approve its demolition.

The church also plans to demolish an existing education annex before beginning construction of a new, expanded educational/fellowship facility. Asbestos abatement in that building began this past Monday and should be completed in two to three weeks.

Goehrig said she realized that many in the community would be sorry to see the old buildings go, but restoring them, even if physically possible, would have been “cost prohibitive.”

The demolitions will allow the church to keep its commitment to the downtown area and to expanding its future ministry, the pastor said.

The building will be available for community as well as church activities, she wrote in a June 9 column for the Richmond Register.

Construction of the new building is scheduled to start in early August, said Dr. Glenn Birkett, who chair’s the church’s capital building committee.

The new building could be under roof by Thanksgiving and completed by next spring, he said.

The Architecture Review Board also approved the demolition of the former First Baptist Church building at the corner of Main Street and Lancaster Avenue. The church moved to a new location off the Eastern Bypass, and a bank now occupies its former site.

Despite her family connection to the historic home demolished Saturday, Ballew said she had no regrets about its destruction. It would be replaced by something “just as nice” and certainly more useful, said Ballew, a member of First Christian.

Her grandmother, Alice Phelps Tribble, had the house built after her husband, a Confederate veteran, died, Ballew said.

Prior to 1894, the Tribble family had lived on a farm in the county, Ballew said, and her grandmother believed raising her children would be easier in town.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6622.

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