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First Baptist Church, Worcester, MA

June 28, 2014

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A centerpiece of the Akron-Auditorium story could be the lineage of an architectural firm from Cincinnati. It began with Charles C. Crapsey (pronounced “crop-see”) [1849-1909], who trained with James K. Wilson. Twice he took partners, with William R. Brown during 1889-1895 and then with E. N. Lamm in 1901-1909. When Brown separated he evolved the firms of Brown & Davis and then Brown, Burton & Davis. And the A-A idea was an integral part of their successive practices. It probably goes without saying that I’m still in search of “patient zero” and these guys are candidates. The design shown here was designed by B,B&D with local associated Gillespie & Carroll.

baptistworcester

Worcester’s First Baptist Church—shown in plan only in an earlier entry—isn’t the largest A-A church ever built but it is mammoth, an example of the “Institutional Church” that served large urban communities as full-service 24/7 precedent for today’s suburban mega-church. It’s difficult to get an idea of just how complex First Baptist was, especially since the building was lost to fire. It was a popular target for postcard art, however, and was also discussed in architectural journals of the time.

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2 Comments
  1. My name is Brent Newberry and I’m the new minister of this church–First Baptist in Worcester. Different building now, of course, after this beautiful one was burned down. I’ve only been here 6 months, but I’ve been trying to research the old building and have a hard time getting anywhere. Your blog has been one of the most helpful. I wondered if you had any guidance for me? You mentioned architectural journals of the day, any idea what those would be or where to start? I’m especially interested in finding info on the interior.

    Anyway, if you get a chance to reply, my email is brentn at fbc-worc dot org. Many thanks, and thanks for posting this!!

    Rev. Brent Newberry

  2. This inquiry from Pastor Newberry has me looking again at First Baptist, Worcester, with fresh eyes. I finally dawned on me that there are enormous differences between the two postcard views (taken look at the front elevation from the left and the right) and the plans as they were published in a 1916 issue of The Architectural Record magazine. Why have I not noticed this before?

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