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United Brethren Church, Monroeville, IN

August 25, 2014


In addition to its variety of both shapes and styles, the Akron-Auditorium church may have been constructed in a wider palette of materials than at other times, simply due to the period of its popularity.

The A-A craze happened to coincide with experimentation in new building materials or new ways of shaping old ones. The was particularly true for concrete—which has been available to builders since Roman times—but which enjoyed special attention at the turn of the century. As reinforced concrete (with filaments of steel giving it tensile strength) it could span long distances and endure marine environments. And as a simple modular masonry unit—the ubiquitous concrete block—was revolutionized in homespun experiments that resulted in dozens of patents: claiming unique shape for the block itself, or for simple machines that did the shaping. Monroeville’s United Brethren church is evidence of the concrete block’s improving status as a respectable and economic building material.

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