As Philadelphia's most beloved Catholic saint, Katharine Drexel is said to have performed miracles by curing the sick and championing the disenfranchised.

A miracle of a lesser sort occurred Tuesday when a Philadelphia appeals board surprised preservationists by voting to spare the historic Spring Garden Street church where Drexel was baptized, the Church of the Assumption.

The Licenses and Inspection Review Board voted unanimously to overturn a decision by the city's Historical Commission that would have enabled the current owner to demolish the ochre-colored church, which dates from 1848 and is the oldest surviving structure on Spring Garden.