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Two Churches in Winfield, KS

May 29, 2017

Those generations of architects raised in the Modern era — who were never required to draw an Ionic volute full scale and freehand in charcoal on a sheet of newsprint — historical styles are terra incognita: they are able to pick styles from a line-up but completely unable to replicate, for example, a column with accurate entasis or a properly proportioned cyma reversa moulding. Indeed, judgments about the quality of a specific historical example, such as these Neo-Classical churches in Winfield, Kansas are generally outside their skill set — or their interest! They may sense improper inter-columnation but have little ability to “fix” it.

These two examples, one Presbyterian, one Christian, offer interesting case studies in stylistic sophistication or its absence. But where the art or architectural historian may be inclined to exercise value judgment, the cultural historian or anthropologist sees only localized incidents of national themes: the differences, for example, between Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Thomas. What captivates my interest and energy is the fact that so many Akron_auditorium churches have been overlooked, essentially, because they’ve been deemed ugly.

The Presbyterian church was built during 1912-1914; I’m uncertain about the other. Neither architect has been identified.


One Comment
  1. A 1946 interior view of Winfield’s Presbyterian Church from the Organ Historical Society, though it doesn’t prove the A-A connection, does prove that the elegantly proportioned and detailed exterior was continued on the inside. The layering of the proscenium (to use the theatrical term), stairs, pulpit etc, shows an very competent hand at work.

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