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Birkett Memorial Baptist Church (1.1)

Under the best of conditions, inner city churches at risk. Shrinking congregations; deteriorating neighborhoods; mainstream Protestantism is losing members to fast-growing mega-churches in the ‘burbs. The former Birkett Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit has been vacant for some time, with disastrous results, as you can see from these interior views.

The corner pulpit and radial seating are a good sign, but there is no evidence of a movable partition.

Congregational Church, Patchogue, L.I., NY

The shape of this Congregational church on Long Island is so similar to a few others at various locations—most of them quite removed from Long Island—that I’m going out on a limb and attributing this to architect L. B. Valk, part of a father-son architectural team that began in Brooklyn and morphed into a California practice about the turn of the century. Examples of their work can be found in Pennsylvania, Colorado and elsewhere.

Methodists in Fresno

Each of these is identified as a Methodist church in Fresno; neither is still standing, as far as I can tell. I suspect that one was Southern, the other Northern in their denominational affiliation. The color postcard show what was obviously an A-A church: witness the hint of a rounded for on the Sunday school wing on the far left.

Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, PA

Pine Street Presbyterian materialized while searching for something completely different: a photograph of #124 Pine Street, a house in Harrisburg designed by architect William Halsey Wood (another of my various interests). I found two postcards that show the 200 Block of Pine but not the 100 Block; at least they establish the character of the neighborhood, if not the house itself.

This church anchors the northwest corner of the intersection of Pine and Third streets. What you can’t see from here is the polygonal end of the church, out of sight at the far right; see the card below for another point of view. It appears to be an Akron Sunday school configuration. It’s unclear how that space might be/have been connected with the auditorium, however. The church dates from about 1892, which puts it in the A-A era.

Interesting that the roof ridge of the Sunday school is taller than that of the auditorium.

Today’s gaggle…

This group of recent additions may be both the most diverse in style and location, but also the most questionable regarding their A-A status. Pardon me while I cast our nets widely.

First Avenue M.E., St Petersburg, FL

First Avenue M.E. church in St Petersburg is a curious mix of styles, including the Spanish Colonial. Another on-line view reveals an element at the far left (screened by the trees) that may be / have been a Sunday school wing.

Baptist Church, Saline, MI

The corner entry and book-matched facades is a giveaway. And what appears to be the Sunday school entry at the far left makes this very likely a D-1 or D-2.