Tuesday, August 4, 2009

National City Christian Church

I am lucky enough to live across from one of my favorite buildings in the city -the National City Christian Church. Designed by prominent architect John Russell Pope in Neoclassical style, the central block which contains the sanctuary was completed in 1930.
night view from my roof deck
Because of the great depression, construction of the side wings which house a shelter and sunday school rooms was not complete till the 1950s. The church has led an important roll in the city through the years. In 1973 the state funeral of Lyndon Johnson was held here. Also, for years the church has had an impact on the musical life of the city both through daily concerts at noon and a weekly radio broadcast of its famous organ.
At night it's an impressive site, all of that white stone lit up, standing proudly on Thomas Circle. I'm always proud to see tourists snapping pictures! The shelter is entered from the side through a quiet, gated courtyard.
Beside the gate is this unusual baptistery. It has a ring of a neoclassical shell which matches the church around a brick core with stained glass. I wonder what the story behind that is!Even from a distance it is hard not to notice! In fact, it's one of the things that drew me to this neighborhood in the first place.

14 comments:

Terry said...

Thanks. So tall wehn looking at it straight on. Interesting story behind the brick baptistery, the "Wilfley Memorial Chapel." Would love to see the interior.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm afraid the interiors are a bit under-whelming, Terry. I will take some and add them to the post though.

Blue said...

This is the most interesting post - excellent. What a view you have! The church brings to mind St. Martins in the Fields where I was three weeks ago for it too is that combination of classical temple topped by a gothic, though classicalized, spire. St. Martins might have been the first such combination but if not it certainly was of influence in the New World. Wonderful post to read over morning coffee! Thank you.

little augury said...

AD, I lived right across the street from a church in Raleigh for years, though I was not in attendance, it was comforting and I always felt safe. In Chicago, my niece does the same and agreed. I bet you would too. LA

home before dark said...

AD, it is time to put away paper models and build a bird house version! (When one architect built a composite of Christopher Wren's work, he had the most creative idea for the dome: half of a copper toilet floater thingy). I think this has all of the elements of grace and majesty. Great view. A proper goodnight for an AD.

Janet said...

I had no idea that Johnson's funeral was held there. Shame on me...so thank you for this.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Janet, I had no idea it was by Pope!
HBD, would be a wonderful birdhouse! My condo faces the rear though, so I don't have a view of the church from my unit -only the shared roofdeck & lounge.
LA -you are so right!
Blue - Pope took inspiration from all over the globe so I don't doubt your guess!

Lord Cowell said...

Yes, Very Christopher Wren. A timeless style. Not quite the wedding cake steeple of St Bride's, his tallest, more akin to St Magnus the Martyr. What a lovely view you have from your roof deck! - David.

thomas said...

it truly is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What is up with that decrepit, ugly Lutheran Church right on the circle and 14th North? I can't really tell whether it's still a church or a place for the homeless to sleep for the night. Haven't seen any legitimate activity there for months or years.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Anon -you mean the red stone church across from this one? It's still very active (and includes a half-way house for women, which is probably what you refer to). They are a very active church actually -the inside is surprisingly pretty and very bright. They recently restored their stained glass windows.
I think a big part of the problem is their awful landscaping - plus the bus stop right by their front door!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info about "the red stone church". Didn't mean to be disrespectful describing the building...just looks a bit rough with wear and age.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

No, you are right, Anon -it needsa good landscaper and scrubbing! Definitely needs work but has potential.

Ariel said...

I just found your blog on Apartment Therapy, and had to comment on this post. As one who lives on the same circle, I love the National City Christian Church - the steps are a great place to relax or look at the stars on a clear night, and one day the stairs were covered in these adorable metallic confetti pairs of lips, which was such a goofy joy to encounter while running errands. I love living in this neighborhood, and its great to learn more about the building!