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Westminster Presbyterian Church

The massive Westminster Presbyterian Church, on the southwest corner of Union and Delmar boulevards, is easily one of the largest churches in St. Louis. Designed by Albert Groves in 1916 and completed in 1925, it is an expression of the large, wealthy mainline Protestant denominations’ tastes in architecture in the early Twentieth Century: the English Gothic Revival. You can also see it such churches as Memorial Presbyterian Church on the west side of Forest Park.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Photograph by W.C. Persons, 1935, Missouri History Museum, N38776

A broad lawn, as is typical of many English cathedrals, is left out front with no driveway interrupting the greensward.

As is so often seen in the English Gothic, there is no monumental westwork (or in this case, eastwork), but rather just a portal and a huge Gothic pointed arch window.

There are no flying buttresses, but rather engaged buttresses reinforced most likely by a steel or iron skeleton inside the walls.

Nonetheless, the windows are huge, and light-filled as is expected in the Gothic style; the stained glass was designed by Marx and Jones and completed in 1925. There is the nice detail of the glass-covered porte cochere along the alley.

The towering spire, set asymmetrically to the side, dominates the composition at the meeting of the nave and transept, which is also typical of the English Gothic, though more often the tower sits on top of the crossing, which would be more expensive and structurally difficult.

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