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Congregational Church, Kalamazoo, MI

August 24, 2016

MIkalamazooCong2

The Richardsonian Romanesque developed an orthodoxy that Richardson himself would have disliked. Somewhere I have an article exploring this very observation: that Richardson’s own work was actually quite unlike work from the late 1880s and early 1890s that bears his name. All of which doesn’t mean that I find it unattractive; I just don’t find it Richardsonian.

This is Kalamazoo’s third Congregational church (UCC), built just a year after HHR’s death. The city’s public library website has this to say:

Plans for a third new church began in 1887. The congregation was convinced a larger edifice was needed to accommodate the growing number of parishioners. They decided upon a massive structure of brick and stone that was built on the same site as the second church. It had an auditorium and galleries to seat a thousand persons. Sliding doors to double parlors and a chapel could make more seating available. The exterior had turrets, towers, and showed the influence of Byzantine architecture. In June of 1890, the new church was dedicated followed by a program led by ministers of other churches around Bronson Park. While this building was being constructed, services were held in the old Episcopal Church at Michigan Avenue and Park Street, which later became the site of the YMCA.

This building burned on 29 December 1925.

A-A churches were frequently associated with the “Y” movement; in a few cases, the “Y” actually began in the church’s multi-purpose room. The YMCA in this case is immediately adjacent (on the far left).

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