Immanuel Lutheran: Okay, We Won’t Trash Our Old Church Building

The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance has sent out an email reporting that the congregation of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Heights voted in a special meeting this past weekend not to demolish its sanctuary building after all.

So what’s going to happen to the unused 1932 brick structure instead? Says the GHPA:

The Gothic Revival building on Cortlandt Street at East 15th Street will be used as flex space to accommodate church functions and Immanuel Lutheran School activities as well as community events.

Sure, it’s likely to make a great space for events. But how could any church function match an all-out building demo for fun?

The GHPA reports the congregation has committed to spending $150,000 on the rehab — about twice the cost of the demolition, which had already been scheduled for May. GHPA credits the 90-days-to-oblivion feature of the city’s otherwise toothless preservation ordinance for the save:


Since the church is a contributing building in the Houston Heights (East) Historic District, the request to raze the building had to go before the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission. Commissioners denied the application, giving community leaders the opportunity to work with church officials to find alternatives to demolishing the historic building. Without the public notice required in the preservation ordinance, the demolition could have proceeded without warning.

Last month’s widely reported news — that the church had decided to convert the sanctuary into a museum of Lutheran History — turned out to be false.

Photo: David Bush

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