Christ Church: The Building
Christ Church is one of the last Gothic churches designed by Mayers, Murray and Phillips, of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Associates in New York, who also designed Christ Church Cranbrook.
The narthex, with its great curving stairway, was modeled after the Chapter House of Wells Cathedral. The cloister - which was not enclosed until 1957 - was inspired by the cloister of Canterbury Cathedral. And because music already was a priority, the church boasted a fine organ built and installed by Casavant Freres of Quebec.
The architects chose sandstone from quarries in Clearville, Pennsylvania, for the exterior because of its iridescence in sunlight. The interior is of gray limestone from Indiana.
Because the church was one of few built during the Depression, many outstanding artisans were available to beautify it with intricate wood carving and detailed stonework.
As at many "Grand Openings", the bone structure of the building was there in 1930, but much of the beauty was yet to come. The carved English oak reredos and sanctuary paneling, with their intricate renderings of the life of Christ, prophets, apostles and saints, were dedicated in 1931.
Executed by Mowbray & Co., Ltd., in London, the reredos was donated by Caroline Askew Barton in memory of Henry Lester Barton. John Wendell Anderson donated the sanctuary and chancel paneling with its carvings, by Jungwirth Brothers of Oberammergau, of St. Francis of Assisi, St. George and the Dragon, the Virgin and Child, St. Joseph, St. Nicholas and St. Augustine.
The octagonal marble baptismal font, also given in 1931, depicts the four evangelists on the edge of the bowl and the four Cardinal Virtues (Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude) on the supporting base. It was given by Mr. and Mrs. John V. Redfield, in memory of Mary Rosamond.
The carved stonework surrounding the front portals of the church was not completed and dedicated until 1942. The intricate tympanum, the triangular panel over the doors, depicts Jesus saying "Come unto me..." to a lame man, a man with a heavy burden, a king, and a mother and child. It was donated by Charles, Robert and John Warren, in memory of Charles Beecher and Helen Wetmore Warren. The figure of Christ the King above the door was dedicated later in 1942. It is a gift by Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Bohn in memory of Evelyn Elizabeth Bohn.
Christ Church's most famous glory, of course, is its stained glass windows. Even they were not in place at the 1930 ceremonies. page 2>