Oak Hill Presbyterian Church

I came to the realization recently that I had a grand total of four posts about Tower Grove South out of over 4,500 posts over the last thirteen years, so decided to go take some pictures of the neighborhood. Due to the large amount of large street trees, I’ll probably need to come back in the winter, but in the meantime, here are some churches, starting with Oak Hill Presbyterian Church, at the northwest corner of Connecticut Street and Oak Hill Avenue.

The current main sanctuary was completed in 1911, but the dedication did not occur until 1913. It started as a small wood frame church at Bent and Humphrey in 1895. That building burned, and the congregation moved here in 1903.

It’s a great example of how the Gothic Revival was moving away from the French and German and towards the English in the early Twentieth Century. I wonder if the spire was originally intended to be taller. The congregation actually held a ceremony where they burned their mortgage papers when the last bond was paid.

And I knew it! Looking back at the history of the church, I was correct in my hypothesis, that the small wing facing Oak Hill Avenue was an original sanctuary that was built on the property first. This adds yet another church, along with at least Jamison Memorial and Lafayette Park Methodist, where a smaller church was built first on the back of a corner lot and then a larger sanctuary was built later on another exposure.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Keith Murray says:

    Messiah Lutheran Church on South Grand and Pestalozzi, which you discussed July 10, 2020, is another example of the two-step/small-structure-subsumed-into-larger-structure church buildings on the South Side. As you know, an earlier structure faced Pestalozzi, and it was partly subsumed into the existing building. The work of Labeaume & Klein (Municipal Opera (Stifel Theatre), downtown YMCA & YWCA, Beaumont Medical, many residences), the new building retained portions on the north, and the difference in simpler windows can be seen. (Thank you, Chris, for your work. Amazing.)

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Ah, so the original building at Messiah is still there? I had been under the impression that it had been demolished. Thanks for the information and taking the time to read!

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