A Preservation Plan for St. Louis
Part II:  Property Types

Period 2 - The Victorian City and the Street Car (1870-1900)

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Religious Buildings

Gothic Revival Style

The Gothic Revival style continued to be popular for church buildings in the Victorian period. The style became traditionally associated with ecclesiastical architecture: remnants of Gothic forms-pointed arch openings, multiple light windows and slender towers, for example-still appear in contemporary church design. The form of the Gothic Revival church did not alter a great deal during the Victorian period. The most significant change was in material: the Victorian Gothic Revival was built in stone rather than brick. The scale of the individual buildings also increased.

The St. Alphonsus Liguori Church (the "Rock Church"), was designed by Reverend Louis Dold in 1867, with the front tower added in 1894. The rough-faced limestone church has a centrally placed steeple that rises 237 feet. On both ends of the front facade, smaller towers and slender buttresses with pinnacles pierce the sharply pitched roof. Windows, with stone tracery, are set beneath pointed arches. On each side elevation, the roof is pierced by windows in a trefoil shape. The church's slender, soaring verticality exemplifies the best of Victorian Gothic Revival.

Baroque Revival Style

The Baroque Revival is a church style rarely seen in St. Louis. It was a 19th century revival of the European Baroque style (1600-1750), and like its predecessor, rejects the formal, geometric classical forms in favor of verticality, irregular shapes and highly sculptural decoration.

The Shrine of St. Joseph was originally built in 1848, making it a Period I church; the eight bays of the side facades, each containing a tall round-headed window set within a recessed arch, recall the design of the Old Cathedral. Its new front facade and double towers, added in 1881, are in an aggressively Baroque Revival style by Adolphus Druiding, an architect who worked in both St. Louis and Cleveland. The front facade of the Shrine has a central portal and tympanum, flanked by smaller lateral entries. Above is centered a recessed niche containing a statue of St. Joseph, under a high shaped parapet. Each of the two bell towers is square, carrying a full stone cornice at each story. Above the roof, the towers become octagonal, and have lancet openings. Originally, each also had a high bell-cast roof and cupola, removed in 1954.

Romanesque Revival Style

The Romanesque Revival style remained popular for church construction into the Victorian era. The primary difference was in scale: churches grew dramatically in size. St. Stanislaus Kostka church was constructed in 1891, from designs by Wessbecher and Hummel of St. Louis. The red brick church features a symmetrical front facade, with two large towers at each end. The front facade has a projecting center bay with front gable, rose window and center portal. Each tower has small lancet windows and octagonal cupolas. Typical Romanesque corbelling outlines the parapets and cupolas.

Richardsonian Romanesque Style

The Richardsonian Romanesque style was prevalent in church design during the Victorian period, primarily as a result of the widespread influence of Richardson's Trinity Church, in Boston. The Richardsonian church is best described as displaying bold stone-work, complex roof patterns and predominantly arched openings.

The Second Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Taylor and Westminster Place in the Central West End, was designed in 1900 by Theodore Link. Set on a high foundation, the rusticated limestone church has a massive central tower with projecting gables and small corner turrets. The primary facade has a large front gable, and flanking pyramidal roofed towers.

Shingle Style

This style is seen much more frequently in residential architecture; however, a few Shingle style churches did appear in St. Louis. Generally similar in form to residential buildings, and smaller in scale than other churches of the period, they exhibit the same motives: shingled wall surfaces; recessed porches and steeply-pitched front gables.

The Way of Life Church, originally the Marvin Memorial Methodist Church, at 2528 S. 12th Street was constructed before 1890. The first story is brick; shingles cover gables, dormers and the dramatic bell tower. A large front gable faces 12th Street; entry is through the bell tower under a rusticated stone porch. The tower itself is a simple design, with large segmental openings and a pyramidal roof.

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