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First Methodist Episcopal Church, Battle Creek, MI

January 2, 2016

MIbattlecreekME

Refining my Akron-Auditorium matrix is long overdue. The geometries I chose were too simplistic. First M.E. in Battle Creek, Michigan upsets its tidiness. Technically, it’s an A-1 but with a twist.

Information on the history of these buildings often comes from groups concerned with the restoration of stained glass or of church organs. In this case, I can thank the Michigan Stained Glass Census for the following:

The third and present church, designed by Wilbur Thoburn Mills of Columbus, Ohio, was completed in 1908. Its distinguishing features include a red tile roof and a prominent bell tower.

They have this to say about the glass itself:

The stained glass windows of First United Methodist Church were created by two leading studios. The Flanagan & Biedenweg Company of Chicago provided the 1908 octagonal dome skylight and windows for the sanctuary and other areas of the building; five medallion-type windows for the chapel were designed by Stanley Elmore Worden (1905-1994) and fabricated in 1963-1965 at the Henry Keck Stained Glass Studio of Syracuse, NY. Joseph E. Flanagan (1858-1928) and William C. Biedenweg (1853-1914), a German trained craftsman, founded Flanagan & Biedenweg Co. in 1878. The firm became the largest Chicago producer of stained glass by 1900 and was active until 1953. German-born Henry Keck (1874-1956) apprenticed at Tiffany Studios, had further training in Munich and New York, and worked for the Lamb and Pike studios before opening his own studio at Syracuse in 1913. Designer and painter Stanley Worden joined the Keck Studio in 1922, became its director after Keck’s death in 1956, and remained with the firm until it closed in 1974.

It’s also possible that the building was renovated in the 1920s with a more Arts & Crafts character.

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