Former Compton Hill Congregational Church

Continuing our tour of cool Romanesque Revival churches in the Central Corridor, we next come to the Compton Hill Congregational Church, which is the original builder and owner of the building at the northeast corner of Compton and Lafayette avenues. It was established in 1894 and closed in 1955.

It easily has one of the coolest bell towers in St. Louis, with a conical roof on a square tower. Like the church we saw yesterday, it has a relatively squat sanctuary with an oversized corner tower dominating the intersection. Below, the fenestration has been altered at some point, most likely in the 1950s.

And then we come to the rear portion of the church, with its elevation along Compton Avenue. Something about this portion of the church intrigues me, besides the obvious fact that it is made of brick. While obviously it has long been common in American cities, including St. Louis, to switch over to less expensive building materials on less visible sides of buildings, there is just something weird about this situation.

Take the north side of the church, which is now visible after the demolition of a row of houses; that just really strikes me as a former apse of a church. And what is with the two diagonal lines of brick coming up in a Y shape from that buttress flanked by the two boarded-up windows? I think maybe, and I stress maybe, there might have been a smaller sanctuary here that was then expanded later. It’s been done before, as you can see here.

Note how it even looks like its own independent structure in the 1896 Whipple Fire Insurance Map:

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