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Zion Lutheran Church, Olney, Philadelphia, PA

November 12, 2013


I’m always pleasantly surprised when liturgical denominations (RC, Episcopalian, many Lutheran synods) choose to build an Akron-Auditorium plan. Such was the case with Zion Lutheran Church in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The postcard comes from eBay, but a quick look on google.maps confirms not only that it was built and survives, but that it hardly appears from the exterior to be an A-A building. Driving by, I would have noted an excellent “Gothic Revival” design circa 1920 but probably not stopped to look at it any more closely. Nice to know that you can have your cake and eat it, too: liturgical “correctness” and functional efficiency and economy are not incompatible.

Incidentally, I’ve seen Ritcher & Eiler designs before, though there isn’t a lot available on the firm.

Note to self: don’t rush to judgment.

  1. I’ve seen other examples of Ritcher & Eiler designs, plans published as postcards. Who would do such a thing? The architect or the congregation? Google sleuthing the architects’ names can be frustrating, because search engines insist on making the name “Richter”, the more common Germanic name, rather than the actual “Ritcher”. Thought you’d like to know.

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  1. Ritcher & Eiler, Architects | Building the Social Gospel

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