The Tudor Revival Rock Spring Presbyterian Church rises above the commercial clutter of Piedmont Road, a vision from a vanishing culture.
After years of declining membership and finances, the church founded in the 1870s by some of Atlanta's most illustrious pioneer families has decided to disband, according to a report by Channel 11's Jeff Hullinger, himself an Atlanta institution.
The fate of the church designed by Welsh architect Charles H. Hobson and completed in 1923 remains unclear. A developer bought surrounding acres from the church for $1.9 million in 2018 to build nine high-end houses, as reported by The AJC's all-time great freelance writer, H.M. Cauley.
Lovers of the old church and its historic cemetery fear the building will be torn down for commercial uses. The landmark was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, which might save it.
The church's demise will end its many community services, as well as the live Nativity scenes that marked the Christmas season for generations of Atlanta families. Those programs didn't bring in money as the church's membership aged and young families moved to more dynamic congregations.
Following the campaign to save the historic 152 Nassau Building downtown, where Fiddling John Carson recorded the first national country and western hit record in the 1923, Atlanta risks losing another essential landmark. Rock Spring, named like nearby Rock Springs Road for a spring that once flowed in the area, could be purchased by a more thriving congregation, or converted into an arts center or concert hall.
I've never visited the church, but its commanding presence as I drove down Piedmont Road gave the comfort of faith and tradition. The church on the hill was one of those places that defined my conception of Atlanta as a true city. The building's destruction would take away another piece of Atlanta's soul.