St Luke UMC Mid-Century Jewel in Central Austin

December 09, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

If anyone doubts there were major changes in American design in the years after the second World War, just visit St. Luke United Methodist in Central Austin. In 1950, the church commissioned architect Roy L. Thomas for the design of a first unit building at the corner of 14th St. and West Lynn. His design also included a plan and image for the next phase, a traditional stone church with ... Read More

Historic Preservation / Mid-Century Modern

St. John the Divine Will Finally Be a Designated Landmark

December 08, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

When I attended Columbia in the early 1980’s, work had just started on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine after decades of inactivity. We referred to our neighbor in Morningside Heights as St. John the Unfinished. The church has been a work in progress since its cornerstone was laid on December 27, 1892 and continues to this day. The Cathedral, however, is not a designated New York City ... Read More

Worship Space / Historic Preservation

Lonely Marker Is All That Remains of Mount Rose Church In Lorena

December 07, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

According to Historic McLennan County, An Illustrated History, the Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church was built to serve a small but dedicated African American community in 1920. An A.M.E. church and a school were also located on Houston Street.   The text includes a description of the scene on October 1, 1921 when the Ku Klux Klan decided to parade in Lorena.   County Sheriff, Bob Buchanan, ... Read More

Worship Space / Historic Preservation / Church Demolition

Lorena Church May Have New Zealand Connection

December 04, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The Texas Historical Commission does an amazing job providing resources and preserving historical records for communities all across the state. Their process for designating a landmark is rigorous and requires a lot of research and preparation from anyone or any group that chooses to participate. There are, however, times when the records aren’t always accurate or consistent. I’ve noticed a few ... Read More

Worship Space / Historic Preservation

East Austin Church is a Landmark with Unrecorded History

November 27, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Like many East Austin Churches, this small structure on E 12th Street hints as a significant history, but little or no information is readily available. From my years on the Historic Landmarks Commission, there’s no doubt that the City of Austin has been doing catch up after years of ignoring the rich history of East Austin. East Austin has many proud neighborhoods that have made important ... Read More

Worship Space / Austin / Historic Preservation

St Mark’s Storied Past A Buried Lead

November 25, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Check out St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio on the web. Images of the historic building are gorgeous, but you won’t easily find out anything about their history. This is particularly odd since this landmark gothic revival church certainly ranks among the most beautiful of the early 20th Century. It stands to reason that the architect for the original building, which still remains as the ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation

A Near Tragedy at St Paul in Fayetteville

November 24, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Conscious of how completely I had overlooked the churches in my old home town of Fayetteville, Texas, I made a point of checking out St. Paul Lutheran Church. Two things stood out, the historic marker, and the tarp up in the steeple. The Texas Historical Commission marker notes the long history of this congregation. The church traces its origin to 1851 when a pastor from Basel Switzerland, J. C. ... Read More

Worship Space / Historic Preservation

Congregation Better Than Ever After Fire

November 22, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The restoration of a synagogue in Manhattan was nearing completion in 2011 when a fire raged through the construction site, destroying the interior, collapsing the roof, and destroying most of the historic details and stained glass. Within months, the Kehilath Jeshurun congregation and its associated school chose to rebuild, bigger and better than before. The decision to rebuild and expand has ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Historic Preservation

Discovering Mt. Pilgrim in My Own Backyard

November 18, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

I don’t have much information about the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Texas. But today, as I pulled into the gravel driveway in front of the historic church, I knew that was my own fault. You see, I grew up in this small town, spending my middle school and early high school years as a resident of Fayette County and attending the Fayetteville School. My parents still live ... Read More

Holy Place / Worship Space / Historic Preservation

Historic Church with a History of Mergers

November 17, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

This beautiful edifice on West Pine Street in West, Texas is worth noting. The wooden ornamental construction includes delightful variations on the tradition of what we now call carpenter gothic architecture. The original congregation was founded in 1875 as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. By 1883 they constructed their first church on this site. In 1901, as times changed and the congregation ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation / Worship Spaces