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Community History

Big dreams for a big house

The grand house at 1201 North 20th Street has been basically vacant for the 14 years or so that I’ve been paying attention to the things. The house directly across the street was named CHPN’s most blighted house in Church Hill in 2010 (and demolished within a few years). The house across the other way burned 11 years ago and the lot still sits empty. Then there was the incident with the big ass tree back in 2007. It seemed likely that the house was doomed to eventual demolition.

The expansive house, 1/2 block off of Mosby Court, and on a block that is mostly vacant, has long caught the eye of Fairmount residents Paul and Becca Granger. The couple, active in the Fairmount and greater Church Hill community for a decade through Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT), New Vision Civic League, and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, see the large house as being somewhere that they can continue do their thing and grow community.

I know Paul and Becca. They are earnest and for real, and maybe the only people in the city that could make this happen. Good job, Grangers 🙂

From WTVR 6:

“We know that this is an amazing place. A lot of people when they watch the news, when they think of Church Hill, when they think of Mosby which is right there, they think of shootings, they think of drugs, but that’s not what this community is,” said Granger.

“This is a community of amazing neighbors and amazing people, and amazing kids, and amazing parents that are just living here and living life.”

PHOTO by John Murden (2004)

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Paul 03/24/2017 at 10:24 PM

Thanks John!

If anyone wants in on bringing this place back to life, some friends encouraged us to start a gofundme, at least to get the yard set:

Chris 03/25/2017 at 7:18 AM

1/2 block from the projects? Heck no.

Paul 03/28/2017 at 10:55 AM

Hey Chris, I probably would’ve said the same thing 10 years ago. All I really knew was what I saw on the news or saw in movies.

What changed is I started getting to know folks and listening to their stories, and it pushed me to stop seeing the “projects” as just a singular thing, and instead start seeing the individuals and families. We engage people with names in a very different way than we engage broad ideas.

It also helped me to get to know the history of the housing projects in Church Hill, and further, the elements that have led to the poverty and other conditions that lead many to fear or hate the projects.

We’re looking forward to getting to know our neighbors in Mosby. There are amazing people in Mosby, Whitcomb, Creighton, and Fairfield; where folks live doesn’t determine who they are. I count it a privilege that a white guy from the country like me would be welcomed in to the rich history and culture of Church Hill.


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