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Presbyterian Church, Lebanon, TN

April 18, 2017

One of this blog’s followers [yes, I know that’s hard to believe but it does have them] is Uncle Ulser, who has an interest in the A-A phenomenon parallel with my own. He brought another fine example to my attention, his own home church in Lebanon, Tennessee, First Presbyterian. I have yet to find a postcard image of same, so here is an exterior from the web, as well as two interiors I’ve “borrowed” from Photography by Stein, someone interested in both church buildings and organs (a not uncommon pairing). I apologize for posting them here without permission.

Clearly this building is lovingly cared for and the congregation deserves our thanks.

  1. The photos do bring back very fond memories, and you are correct that the congregation has maintained a loving relationship with its building. The modernizations of the 1960s and the restorations of the 1980s were both done with a gentle hand. Here modern egress requirements necessitated the removal of the roll-up doors fronting the Sunday School rooms, though the dividing partitions have remained. This is the only congregation in Lebanon that has preserved its historic building: all other pre WWII buildings in Lebanon have been closed, razed or altered beyond recognition.

    By my time with the congregation,- the 1960s and 1970s – classes were held in the old classrooms as well as in a newer Sunday School wing, but there was no Sunday School assembly. Indeed, as far as I know, that practice had passed out of institutional memory. The only time I ever saw the grand dividing partitions between the sanctuary and the assembly area was Christmas Eve. During that period, this was the only (protestant) church Lebanon that held a Christmas Eve service. All the partitions were opened to provide seating for the large ecumenical crowd.

    Regarding the photos above, the exterior is the east facade, facing the side street. With no parking available on the front of the building, this entrance and an entrance at the southwest in a newer addition became the church’s primary entrance points. This small tower and its twin on the north house stairways to the upper levels.

    • IF (and that’s a big “if”) this project should turn into a monograph, I’ll be looking for a half dozen iconic examples still standing and close to their original condition. I think Lebanon might be a candidate. Thanks for sharing it.

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