First Christian Church a Dramatic Small Town Presence

February 06, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

There may be some connection between the origin of a group and the way they present themselves in later years. That seems a logical explanation for the delightful church near the center of Smithville. More than a century after its design, this building continues to be one of the more dramatic structures in the area. So it was no surprise to learn this congregation met in the local Opera House in ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation

Islamic Center in Texas Burns

January 29, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

Sometime in the early hours Saturday morning, a fire started in the only mosque in Victoria, Texas. A clerk from a nearby convenience store noticed the flames and called the fire department. By the time they arrived, shortly after 2 a.m., the building was already engulfed in flames. As dawn approached, the flames were extinguished, but the mosque was completely destroyed.   Firefighters battle ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Church Demolition

A New Korean Church De-Emphasizes Religion

January 22, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

A feature in Architectural Record about a new church in Korea offers a unique perspective on one major trend in church construction. Built by the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the program called for more of a community landmark than a church edifice. It’s located on a tight site in an established area of residential towers. The distinctive design uses seven stories of enclosed space, a meandering ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture

Fayetteville Brethren Church and Cemetery are Personal Landmarks

December 21, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

This little church stands on a hill at the intersection of Ross Prairie Church Road and Kramr Road about 2 miles south of Fayetteville, Texas. This also happens to be a landmark for me personally since the old Heimsath home was just a bit farther down Kramr Road. And as I noted during my visit to the Mt. Pilgrim Church, I realized I have never been inside this lovely wood-frame church!   I was ... Read More

Worship Space / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation

Rally at Mosque Demonstrates Support

December 05, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

It’s distressing these days that bad news, even fake news get spread all over, while really good news seems to gets lost or sinks below waves of acrimony and vitriol. This weekend, however, a truly heartening event bobbed up high enough to get noticed. The Houston Press ran a feature about a crowd gathered outside a mosque in Houston to demonstrate their support!  The group of several dozen ... Read More

Holy Place / Sacred Architecture / Religious

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

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

St Joseph Proves Value of Holding Out

November 08, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A tough group of determined Germans were not to be trifled with in 1944. No, this isn’t about the war in Europe, the conflict here was in San Antonio and in this conflict, the Germans won! A large department store, Joske’s, had just purchased significant properties around the old St. Joseph Catholic Church, a congregation founded in 1868 by German immigrants. Try as they might, the store could ... Read More

Holy Place / Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation / Religious

Ursuline Academy a Preservation Model

October 09, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

In 1960’s a hundred year old complex near downtown San Antonio was in severe disrepair. The Urusline Order of nuns who operated a girl’s school on the property was moving away to a new campus. What would be next for the old buildings was unknown. Enter the Conservation Society who purchased most of the property in 1971 and facilitated the beginning of a multi-phased restoration program. A ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Adaptive Re-use / Liturgical Arts / Historic Preservation / Church Adaptive Reuse

Servant Church Grows From Asbury UMC

October 04, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

I’ve passed by and noticed this church campus for many years. Stone walls under a canopy of oak trees have offer an appealing image of a quiet neighborhood church, Asbury United Methodist. Not long ago, however, there was a new sign out front. The Servant Church sign on the stone wall offers a hint of something new.   The church’s website invites visitors to join a young and diverse group ... Read More

Sacred Architecture / Historic Preservation / Worship Spaces