With a wrecker’s ball looming over the spire of the historic Central Congregational Church, today’s announcement in the Fall River Herald News brings a sigh of hope to city preservationists. The Ruskinian Gothic structure of red and white brick, designed by the prestigious firm of Hartwell & Swazey, was, until recently a culinary arts school with an attached restaurant, The Abbey Grille. The business went into foreclosure, the edifice was boarded up and weeds set in. The scenario looked bleak for the church, once the bustling religious center for many of the city’s society families from The Hill section. Andrew Borden paid for a pew in the vast sanctuary, although it was primarily Lizzie alone who attended regularly.
Jerry and son Chris Donovan have restored and rescued other properties in the city, most notably the old Eagle on North Main Street, now a center for performing arts. The historical commission is back in business and it looks like great things are in the works! Good news indeed.
The Eagle on re-opening night.