Episode 169: Neighborhood Preservation

19th Street Baptist Church

Can this church be saved? Chemists and congregants alike say yes. Image courtesy of Alex Lewis.

Majestic old buildings testify to the rich history of cities across the world. But why do some of these buildings seem unaged while others rot just blocks away? The answer, sometimes, is science. On today's episode of Distillations we're looking at the role of chemistry in neighborhood preservation. First, producer Alex Lewis shares the efforts of a Philadelphia-based congregation trying to save its crumbling church. Then we talk to the Delaware Valley Green Building Council's Heather Blakeslee about how architects and developers restore aging structures to live new and greener lives.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:28 Introduction
01:20 The 19th Street Baptist Church
09:31 Interview: Heather Blakeslee
16:35 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Alex Lewis, Heather Blakeslee, and Jennifer Dionisio for researching this show. 

For more about masonry restoration, visit

Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional music includes "Come Haste To The Wedding," by Sturbridge Colonial Militia, from Also featured are Chopin, Etude in A-flat, Op. 25, no. 1 by Michal Hambourg, and Little Wooden Church, by The Trumpeteers, both from the Free Music Archive.

Image courtesy of Alex Lewis.

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