Skip to content

Mary S. Brown–Ames United Methodist Church, Pittsburgh, PA

Roaming through back issues of the Architectural Record, I found an article “The Modern Auditorium Church”, not the best place to find the A-A but a foot in the door, at least. [As evidence of the article’s breadth, it includes Ascension Episcopal church by none other than Halsey Wood.] This view from Beechwood Boulevard doesn’t show the attached sunday school but it is clear in the google.maps aerial view. Interior views are not forthcoming, though I suspect from the location of the entry doors that this is an A-1. The article was dated 1911, so the church may date from a few years previous.

The view from the back helps, doesn’t it.

BTW, this entry in the database is #6301. Who knew.

First Methodist Episcopal Church, Canby, OR

Canby, Oregon’s First M. E. church now serves the community’s Church of God congregation. Limited interior photographs neither confirm nor deny that the auditorium (presumably on the left) opens into the Sunday school (presumably on the right). The current church website credits contractor-builder Frank E. Dodge with both design and construction of the church. The date is about 1910.

The building is now surrounded with trees and difficult to see.

Federated Church, Columbus, NE

There was a gentlemen’s agreement (I’m told) here in North Dakota, where I live, between the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations: Whichever got to a new community first, the other would move on to the next town. I can’t say that the same arrangement existed in Nebraska. In Columbus, however, two struggling congregations opted to merge or Federate. I think this may formerly have been the Congregational facility. Interior views and dates have been difficult to find.


I may not know the architects yet but I know they did two of them.

First Reformed Church, West Hoboken, NJ

This card comes up now and then on eBay but it’s always priced too dearly for me. First Reformed Church in West Hoboken, New Jersey has stood at Palisade Avenue and Maple (now 28th) Street since before 1910. An accurate date of construction is yet to be determined, but it still functions as Iglesia de Cristo Elim New Jersey. The building’s representation in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps more or less confirms its A-A status, though contemporary interior view suggest the two large spaces have been conjoined.

First Methodist Episcopal Church, Cleveland, OH

First M.E. church in Cleveland, Ohio wouldn’t seem a likely candidate for this project. The time is right (1905+) as is the denomination (Methodist), but I don’t know much about the architect J. Milton Dyer, especially whether his career had any special emphasis on church buildings. But the Sunday school—added at a later date, I’m told, though presumably by the same architect—is about as Akron as you can get. The building was recently auction.

Parkside Methodist Episcopal Church, Camden, NJ

Stumbling around the realm of google this afternoon, I ran across a reference to Parkside Methodist church and was surprised to find this in a google.maps aerial view. Clearly this is only part of a church. Either it was built in its entirety and the sanctuary burned, or it was phased for economic reasons and the sanctuary was postponed. Turns out to have been the latter; witness the cover of a church history which shows a slice of the intended complex.

The Sunday School was built and dedicated in 1916, and the architect was George E. Savage just across the river in Philadelphia.


Spot Check

The project progresses like the hands of a clock. A year or so ago, it seemed that we were achieving modest numbers—here in the blog and in the actual database that you can’t see at present—but the flow of new entries has slowed, making this as good a time as any to assess what we’ve achieved.

Today’s entry (a Methodist church in Newark, New Jersey) is #1,291. But the database itself sits this afternoon sits at 6,255 likely candidates for Akron–Auditorium or Combination Plan status. They range from the 1880s into the 1920s, by which time the Akron idea had become more habit than fad. And virtually every style from those decades is represented: from Ruskinian Gothic and Richardsonian Romanesque to Churrigueresque, Craftsman, and Prairie School. If I’ve made a contribution to awareness and understanding of the A-A phenomenon, it’s been the observation of pattern among so many diverse examples. Gather enough of anything and patterns will emerge, and emerge they did.

I noted this afternoon that there are several people following this blog. That’s gratifying. But—other than two visitors who’ve taken the time to say hello and even make contributions of ideas and information—it would be useful to learn why others have become followers. What meaning does the A-A have for you?