Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saint Jude, Pray for Us

Not long ago, fellow history nut John provided me with a new insight into the history of the Henderson Building about which I have written several posts. Not surprisingly, a building which goes back to 1859 will have some different iterations. At the time of my 2012 photos (in that post) the building was a destination, home of the exclusive Runway Bridal shop. The most recent views show it empty and deteriorating, not its best. I can only hope that financing becomes available somehow to retain/restore it.

Sitting as it does at the north entrance to what our Belleville booster banners call "Historic Downtown Belleville", a focal point seen from the historic bowstring arch bridge, it would make a real impact. And it's firmly established that heritage (even if its impact is nothing deeper than 'charming' or 'interesting,' brings people into downtown again.)

Oh dear. As we say chez nous, in an effort to avoid repeating old issues, this is Rant # 65. Look it up, and I will stop rabbiting on.

Perhaps these intriguing photos sent by friend John, and published here with the permission of the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, will introduce a new force into the struggle. Prayer.
John is an intrepid historian, who has connected me with a couple of very interesting stories over the years, Turns out, in the 1920s and 30s, his maternal grandmother attended the 'storefront' Regular Baptist Church in the Henderson building. John also supplied an announcement about a visiting evangelist, from the November 12, 1938 issue of the Intelligencer. And although the Baptists would scarcely pray to the patron saint of lost causes, we might wish to.

Incidentally, John is a man of many historical interests. Boating history enthusiasts may wish to follow his 'Miss Supertest' Facebook page.


  1. I have always found the Henderson Building to be one of the most visually significant pieces of architecture in the entirety of Belleville and area. There is just nothing else around that compares to it. And now it has a history to match! And for me a newly found personal connection through my late maternal grandmother. It would be a crime to see this building not be saved.

  2. It would be such a wonderful gateway to our "historic downtown" entering from the north/401. With the little park beside it, the river, the bridge with hanging planters, the historic marble building next door...