“I am excessively diverted.”*

by chuckofish

Today on the Episcopal calendar of saints we commemorate two Episcopal architects and an Episcopal artist: Ralph Adams Cram, Richard Upjohn and John La Farge.

Upjohn (22 January 180216 August 1878) was an English-born architect who emigrated to the United States and became most famous for his Gothic Revival churches.

His family initially settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts and then moved on to Boston in 1833, where he worked in architectural design. He had relocated to New York by 1839 where he worked on alterations to Trinity Church. The alterations were later abandoned and he was commissioned to design a new church, completed in 1846.

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Trinity then and now…

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He published his extremely influential book, Upjohn’s rural architecture: Designs, working drawings and specifications for a wooden church, and other rural structures, in 1852.

Upjohn designed many buildings in a variety of styles–such as St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore which combines 12th-century Italian elements on the exterior and Romanesque elements on the interior–

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but he is most identified with Gothic Revival Episcopal churches.

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Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Poughkeepsie, NY

However, he also designed the much more humble and very charming Gothic Revival St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in North Charlestown, New Hampshire where our ancestors the Rands were members. I’d love to know the backstory on this!

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A small country church with a cruciform plan sheathed in board and batten siding with zigzag bottom edges. Its nave runs in an east/west direction, bisected by transepts and ending in a polygonal apse at the east end. A shed addition abuts the north end of the apse. The placement of a square tower at the southeast corner dominates the otherwise symmetrical plan. The first-floor tower window is a small peaked rectangular window with entry through a pointed arch doorway on the south side. Second-story windows are rectangular. Apse windows have a low pointed shape with label molds. Above the two-story base, the tower is capped by a steeply pitched truncated hip roof sheathed in hexagonal and regular slate shingles, capped by a smaller square stage with a louvered. almond shaped opening on each side and surmounted by a pyramidal roof topped by a cross. Remaining roof surfaces are sheathed in alternating bands of green and purple slate. Each of the transept ends features a tripart trefoil arch window. Rafters support the projecting eaves with a collar tie adorned by four cutout quatrefoil designs. The nave is four bays wide with small peaked rectangular windows. A small steeply pitched gable vestibule extends from the rear of the south side. Located in the rear of the nave is a six-part circular stained glass window capped by a collar tie similar to those in the transepts.

The church was designed in 1863 by Richard Upjohn, a prominent New York ecclesiastical architect and is New Hampshire’s only wooden church by Upjohn. Ground broken July 4, 1863; completed December 10, 1863; consecrated December 11, 1863. The church was enlarged in 1869 by the architect’s son, Richard M. Upjohn, by moving the nave back 22 feet and building transepts, a tower and steeple. (National Register Nomination Information)

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So hats off and a toast to Ralph, John and especially Richard, saints of the Church, and a prayer too:

Gracious God, we thank you for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn, whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a sacramental understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism; and we pray that we may honor your gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

*Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice