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First Methodist Church, Athens, OH

December 21, 2016


It is simply not possible to discuss the Akron-Auditorium phenomenon without invoking the name of architect George Washington Kramer. He was involved in the development of the first Akron Plan Sunday School at Akron, OH. And he subsequently moved his practice to New York City. It is claimed in his obituary that Kramer design 2,219 churches during his long career. First Methodist in Athens, Ohio, is an example. Notice the movable partition in the back right wall.

But there should be a note of caution concerning Kramer’s claim (or whoever wrote the obituary): During his retirement, Kramer put together a scrapbook, state-by-state, of his many projects. For each state there is at least half a page; for some, multiple pages. For each state there is also an alphabetical hand-written list of cities where his churches can be found, with a parenthetic number for places with more than one building. But this tabulation is highly suspect. For the state of North Dakota, for example (the state where I live), he claims eight churches. Yet I can tell you with assurance that there are none and never were any here. So, if North Dakota can be so wrong, what are we to accept of his claims for other states?

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