St. Gabriel Archangel Roman Catholic Church

I almost missed St. Gabriel the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, which sits on the north side of Francis Park in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood. It is one of a series of churches designed by A.F. and Arthur Stauder, along with at least St. Stephen Protomartyr and St. Joan of Arc. The parish has an amazing history of itself on-line, so I will yield to its page for the background on how this church came to being.

The parish describes the church as Gothic Revival, but I would say it is almost Art-Deco or even Streamline Moderne with Gothic tendencies. Regardless, it is a wonderful church that is unique and all the more interesting considering the Stauders’ designs only a couple of years later. It would be fascinating to learn what precipitated their rapid stylistic shift.

The giant bas-relief sculpture of Gabriel is a stanout of the front faade.

Of the seven archangels, Gabriel is one of the few mentioned in a canonical book of the Bible, in this case the Gospel of Luke.

And rather appropriately, the cornerstone features a quote from Gabriel’s words in Luke, Chapter I, verse 33, when he announces to Mary (known as the Annunciation in Catholic theology) that she will bear Jesus Christ.

That is an awesome porte cochere that reminds me of the one at Holy Innocents.

The church is not a standard cruciform planned building.

The church complex makes a pleasing transition around to Tamm Avenue from Nottingham, where the school buildings are located.

It is fairly obvious that the school buildings were built long before the church was. The school was constructed, like many Catholic parishes, first, in 1934, and the church was begun in 1950 with construction completed in 1951. The school is beautiful in its own right, and one could imagine if the church construction had begun sooner, that it would have turned out looking more like St. Ambrose or Epiphany. I like how it turned out so much differently.

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