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Messiah Lutheran Church, Tower Grove East

I’ve driven and walked by Messiah Lutheran Church thousands of times, and I am embarrassed to admit that other than this one photo from September of 2013, which I replicated below since it’s such a beautiful view, I’ve never closely photographed it before.

I suspect the church was sited in its lot to line it up with Tower Grove Park’s walkways across South Grand Boulevard.

The church is classic English Gothic Revival, which became popular due to changing artistic and aesthetic trends in the early Twentieth Century, as architects moved away from the German and French Gothic so common in Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches.

The spire in particular is very beautiful, with lovely patinated copper.

Ah, cornerstones make studying and researching American buildings so much easier! But it helps if you take a photograph where bushes are not obscuring the date of construction. While the congregation dates to 1908, and the original church faced Pestalozzi, the new and current building dates to 1929, and its new orientation was towards Grand.

The front portal and its door are in immaculate condition, and there is even a nice bronze or dark-stained wood medallion. The Latin, Soli Deo Gloria, which means “Glory to God Only,” is classic Protestant Reformation dogma, rejecting the Roman Catholic veneration of saints. Martin Luther in particular spoke out against the concept of saintly intercession, but still argued that they were men and women to emulate; hence there are still plenty of Lutheran churches named after saints, even right here in St. Louis.

The English Gothic has compressed pointed arches, as you can see prominently below.

The parish house next door matches the church, and perhaps could be described as Gothic or Tudor Revival, which goes along with the English influence.

Messiah Lutheran is active in the building of low-income housing, and is a great partner in South St. Louis in helping out immigrants who settle in the neighborhoods around the church.

3 Comments

  1. Loved the article on Messiah. I shared it with folks in the congregation. Thanks for documenting STL history. Let us know if you ever want to see inside!

    • Thanks, Dana, and good to hear from you! I would love to see the interior at some point.

      • I was there last year for the Good Friday service, and the inside is beautiful!

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