A friend from Pensacola and I recently took a trip up to Arena to check on the old church which has been the anchor of the town’s remains. While it still stands, technically, I think a more accurate term would be that it sits.
The concrete floor has finally given way, and the wooden braces have punched through. That allowed the entire building to shift backwards, which I believe is the only reason it’s still precariously upright.
As you can see here, the fact that the church pivoted back and onto the dirt behind the back wall is what has kept it upright after the failure of its supports.
Sadly, that’s also what is tearing this building in half. The front part of the church is separating due to the shift in the building and the lack of support beneath the area where the two parts join.
The front of the church is still being propped up by what’s left of the cinder block wall, but that isn’t going to last much longer.
The front of the church has also pulled away from the steps.
The steps themselves have begun to pull apart as well.
The back of the church looks okay at first glance, but you can see the extent of the damage at the front as the two parts of the structure are separated even further on the east side.
Naturally the chimney was an early causalty. I took this photo a long time ago.
So, sunset is on the way for this old church. It’s one of my favorite local photo spots, and it’s sad to see it go. Often when a building gets to this state of disrepair and instability, responsible parties destroy it before time does the inevitable. After all, it is unsafe. I’ve tried to stop by periodically to chronicle the demise of this beautiful little church, and I don’t care to imagine the day when it no longer remains.