Work on the Fir Street off-ramp for the most recent Granville Bridge (construction 1952-53) has just begun in the image above and was at a more advanced stage in the photo below. The question that was most pressing for me was: Which church was it that would soon have a ‘drive-by’ ministry!?
This question was not answered by CVA’s online archival records and the answer attempted by VPL’s historical photo department proved to be mistaken. VPL indicated that the church on this site was St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The problem with this, however, is that the address of St George ca1952 was 2305 W 7th Avenue… and that address put the church a very long way west of the Fir Street off-ramp.
If it wasn’t St. George’s, what church was it? It definitely had an orthodox appearance. So I called upon my good friend, Wes, the Googling Genius, to find another orthodox church that was near Fir Street in 1952-53. True to form, he found the church in about 5 minutes. It was Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church at 1570 W 7th Avenue. That address put it exactly where it appears to be in the CVA and VPL images. I’ll allow the authors of the church’s website to explain:
By early 1928, the community began thinking about building a new church. In 1924, only 20 families were members, but by 1928, the parish already numbered 80 families….The new church was built on 7th Ave and Fir St….[After WWII,] [t]he City Council decided to construct the Granville Bridge. The end of the off ramp edge interfered with the Church site. The City offered to appropriate the property from the [church] Society and to provide for a new building site on 43rd Ave. The new church was designed and built at… [33 East 43rd Avenue] during 1953-1954.