Central Congregational Church, Galesburg, Illinois

As I mentioned yesterday, Central Congregational Church holds down the southwest corner of Central Square in Galesburg. It is easily the most beautiful example of Richardson Romanesque that I have seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a Congregationalist church still in business; I think every one that I’ve come across before has been defunct. It was designed by C.E. Gottschalk and opened in 1898 at a cost of $75,000.

Like all revival styles of the Nineteenth Century, the Romanesque Revival style as perfected by Henry Hobson Richardson and copied by so many others in the last decades of the 1800s is not a scientific replication of the style of the late Middles Ages. Take the rose windows, which did not appear in European architecture until the rise of the Gothic style. And the more central, auditorium style groundplan of Congregationalist churches is distinctively modern.

I particularly love the playfulness of the use of different patters in the stonework, and the use of a unique color to make the composition distinct.

The tripartite portal reminds of the similar composition on the transepts of Chartres Cathedral, which you can see here.

I find it interesting that there is only a single hanging lantern in the central portal.

And of course, there are attached Sunday School classrooms as well as administrative offices.

All in all, a splendid composition.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yoji says:

    Chris, the detailed observations of your commentary are always so instructive. Every post — but especially posts like this one, in which you’re particularly inspired — inspires in your readers a like sharpness of eye and interpretive acuity. Such good work.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Thank you so much!

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