Long View Center
|Long View Center|
Long View Center in 2008
|Location||Raleigh, North Carolina, United States|
The Long View Center is a historic church building located in the Moore Square Historic District of Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. The facility sits directly across from Moore Square, one of two surviving four-acre (1.6 ha) parks from Raleigh's original 1792 plan. Built between 1879 and 1881, Long View was originally known as Tabernacle Baptist Church. The name of the building was changed to Long View Center in 1998 after a local developer purchased the property to be used as a mixed-use facility. Currently, the sanctuary is used by the Unity Church of the Triangle. In addition to Unity, Long View is now used for artist performances and weddings. The first concert at Long View was performed by Irish folk singer Susan McKeown.
In 1874, ten members of Raleigh's First Baptist Church left the congregation and began Swain Street Baptist Church. After the church's facility became too small for the growing membership, Swain Street members constructed a new building at the corner of Person and Hargett Streets and changed their name to Second Street Baptist Church. The new location was dedicated in October 1881. The name of the church was once again changed in 1910, this time to the current title, Tabernacle Baptist Church.
During the influenza epidemic of 1918, the church opened a soup kitchen in the 1880 Hall and delivered over 2,000 meals to residents of the city. In the 1940s, the church operated a World War II serviceman's center in a building next to the sanctuary. Throughout the war, an estimated 2,000 men visited the center. During this time, the church membership rose to almost 4,000 people and Tabernacle became the largest Baptist church in North Carolina. Because of this increasing membership, two additional buildings were added.
When suburbanization became popular in the 1960s, membership began to decrease as more people moved out of the downtown area. By the late 1990s, there were only 650 members left. In 1998, the congregation decided to relocate to north Raleigh and sold the property to developer Gordon Smith for $3.07 million. While their new facility was being constructed, Tabernacle members continued to use the building until 2001. Long View began hosting weddings, concerts, and other special events while the educational buildings were renovated into commercial office space. In 2006, Gordon leased the sanctuary to Unity Church after attending one of their religious services.
The Long View Center is a mixture of Gothic Revival and Romanesque architecture. Originally a simple framed structure, Tabernacle was renovated throughout the early 20th century as the Moore Square district developed. The most notable renovation took place in 1910.
The facility consists of a series of four buildings totalling 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m). The buildings are Freedoms Hall, 1880 Hall, North Carolina Hall, and Futures Hall. A fifth building, Long View Hall, is being planned.
Freedoms Hall is the original sanctuary and is adjacent to Exploris Middle School. Freedoms contains 64 stained glass windows, the bell tower, parlor, and features natural acoustics. Most events at Long View take place in Freedoms Hall. The 1880 Hall, named after the year the dining hall was completed, is home to the art gallery, reception area, and smaller performances. The Futures Hall is a renovated two-story office building and the North Carolina Hall contains the Conference Room, as well as additional office space.
In 2006, the Unity Church of the Triangle began using the Long View Center as a new place of worship after outgrowing their original location on East Whitaker Mill Road. In regards to the church's decision to move locations, Neusom Holmes, the church's minister, said "A downtown location is the perfect place to welcome a broader constituency. This brings us into the heart of downtown. It allows us to put into practice some of the teachings of being open and inclusive." Unity, part of the Unity Church school of thought, is a liberal congregation of 360-members that is open to all faiths, cultures, and sexual orientations. The church uses the Center for worship twice every Sunday, and for meditation every weekday.
In addition to Unity Church, the facility is used for non-denominational weddings, concerts, meetings, and as an art gallery. An Acoustic Concert Series takes place each month with national and international touring artists. Musicians who have performed at Long View include Arlo Guthrie and Tift Merritt. The Long View Gallery, owned by Rory Parnell, is a joint project between the Collectors Gallery at City Market and Long View. Artwork is rotated on a quarterly basis.
Long View is also home to offices for the North Carolina Trust for Public Land, International Affairs Council, Triangle Interfaith Alliance, Fountainworks, Disabilities Education Support Center, and Rabbi Raachel Jurovics.
Long View serves as one of the venues for citywide special events, such as First Night Raleigh.
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