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Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, Agincourt, IA

August 8, 2016

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Facing diagonally southeast toward the Fennimore County courthouse, Asbury UMC has stood at the intersection of Agincourt Avenue and North Second Street since 1920, putting it at the end of the A-A phenomenon. Agincourt’s original townsite provided four oddly-shaped “church lots” bracketing its civic core. This is the third building to occupy the site.

Designed by Des Moines architects Liebbe-Nourse-Rasmussen, Asbury packs more A-A components on the site than you’d think possible: an auditorium seating 600 and Sunday School accommodating 250, it also includes adult meeting rooms and office space and generous social hall. Two other elements are odd but not uncommon: recreational space (which became the seed of Agincourt’s YMCA) and an apartment for the pastor’s family.

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If you think I’ve written comparatively too much about Asbury UMC, I apologize, because I designed it to test my understanding of Akron-Auditorium churches generally: if I can’t design it, I don’t get it. As a “plan man” I’m proud of Asbury’s organization, its discipline. That being said, I also can’t tell you what it looks like. Its elevations exists only in my mind’s eye. I’d always imagined something faceted, in brick, perhaps a la Barry Byrne:

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