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St Paul’s United Methodist Church, South Bend, IN

January 4, 2014

In the national scheme of things, there are three architectural forms that were the most prolific and productive in promoting the A-A phenomenon: 1) George Washington Kramer (Weary & Kramer) of New York City; 2) a Cincinnati firm various presenting itself as Crapsey & Brown, Brown & Davis, and Brown, Burton & Davis; and 3) Cleveland practitioner Sidney Rose Badgley of Badgley & Nicklas. A distant fourth place firm might be L.B. Valk & Son, first in NYC and then relocated to Los Angeles after the turn of the century and taken over largely by the junior partner/son Louis A. Valk. Most others of note were of largely regional significance. It’s hard to not emphasize the pervasive influence of the first three.

When St Paul’s Methodist Episcopal congregation decided to enlarge their facility at the end of the 19th century, they chose the already renowned S. R. Badgley, who provided an iconic version of my Type C-1. Opened for service in 1900, St Paul’s is also notable for another aspect of the A-A epoch: connections with the captains of American industry, self-made men (sorry, no women that I’ve yet identified in this role) who had invented the American industrial engine and were similarly adventurous when it came to architectural experimentation. Put more simply, they were ready to break the rules. In the case of South Bend, this was Clement Studebaker, a member of the St Paul congregation. Badgley gave them what they wanted.


Imagine an axial auditorium running from the double-doored entry to the pulpit at the far, unseen side of the building. And then conceive a semi-circular double-level Sunday School attached at the left side of that auditorium.


Get it?

PS[21MAR2017]: Three additional interior views tell us a little more about Badgley’s understanding of the Akron Sunday school and its relationship to the sanctuary:

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