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Methodist Episcopal Church, Temple, TX

February 7, 2018

This Methodist building in Temple, Texas is only mentioned in another entry but it clearly deserves its own place, in fact one of considerable interest.

The expansive semi-cylindrical auditorium centered on the pulpit at its focus was first used (or at least very, very early) by Chicago architect Louis Sullivan for St Paul’s M.E. at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That story is one in its own right—cost overruns, Sullivan’s firing, the hiring of another architect who bowdlerized Sullivan’s concept, and the intervention of Purcell & Elmslie to bring back some of its finer qualities—but what I find most interesting is the timing of that project and this one in Texas: they’re practically a photo finish. So how did Dallas architects Sanguinet & Staats become acquainted with the Sullivan design? It probably has something to do with publication in some form that I’m not familiar. At any rate, the two buildings are conceptually quite similar.

Neither the Cedar Rapids nor the Temple church has an Akron Sunday school, so technically both are included in the database because of their innovative auditoria

  1. This is some serious Sunday School architecture!

    • Isn’t it an amazing building. All I can imagine is that an early version of the Sullivan design was published and the delays in construction caused a reversal in date. That is, the Temple church seems to predate the “original.”

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