Fight to save mid-century Phoenix church from demolition fails

Efforts to save a Phoenix church building that some say has a unique and historic value from demolition have apparent failed.

Campbell Community Church, located in the area of 28th Street and Campbell, has been a part of the community since the 1960s. The church was built by notable architect Mel Ensign, in the Mid-Century Modern mold.

When we drove by the area on Sept. 4, 2023, we noticed the building was gone.

Area residents led preservation campaign

We first reported on efforts to save the church building in early August 2023.

"We've seen the neighborhood go through ups and downs and then back up again, and I do like seeing the new stuff, but it does it all need to be new?" said area resident Andrea Ledford, back in August.

"This building, a 1963 A-Frame church, is quite rare. It is part of that sense of place for this community," said Roger Brevoort with Preserve Phoenix.

The Biltmore Estates area is a bull's eye of sorts for building, turning smaller ranch-style homes into bigger homes.

"We used to have the pool across the street from it. I mean they got torn down, and we got more houses, so do we need more houses? I don’t know?" said Ledford.

Phoenix city officials speak out

Amid the debate over the building's future, officials with the City of Phoenix's Historic Preservation Office issued a statement on the matter in August.

The statement reads:

"Religious properties have emerged as leading property type for redevelopment. Faced with declining membership and large physical properties a number of church congregations are either retaining portions of the property with some buildings and subdividing to sell land, or selling entirely to relocate to smaller buildings or disbanding. With this in mind, our office has commissioned a study of post-war religious architecture to help us better identify those properties with the highest level of architectural significance to establish preservation priorities.

There are a large number of these properties and while the study has not been finished, the consultants classified this property as mid-level in terms of architectural significance, or "potentially eligible" for historic designation.

These are challenging situations and our office understands that post-war resources classified as "potentially eligible" or even "not eligible" for designation contribute to the character of the neighborhoods where they have been for decades. We hope that when this survey is complete we can reach out to congregations with architecturally significant buildings in advance of the point of demolition application to discuss planning and preservation opportunities."

Map showing where the church was located