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United Protestant Church (Presbyterian)
The ARRC donated land to three denominations to build churches, stipulating that they be constructed of logs. Although the buildings that it built for itself were not log, management of the ARRC apparently determined that log construction was appropriate for Alaska, whether practical or not. The Presbyterian congregation here used log with a vengeance, constructing a church that is the epitome of romanticized rustic architecture.
The United Protestant Church was constructed of logs in a manner more decorative than functional. Horizontal log walls give way to vertical logs at about the window-sill level, then revert to horizontal logs above the windows. The church has a low gable roof. Cruciform in plan, the lateral wings are near the front of the church, with the pastor's office on one side and meeting rooms on the other. The nave, which occupies the stem of the cross, is finished with exposed logs; log trusses are carried on posts, and there are log chandeliers. The nearby parsonage and garage are also built of logs, in the same pattern as the church.
The Presbyterian missionary Bert J. Bingle arrived at Palmer in 1935, one step ahead of the colonists. Although services were held immediately upon the arrival of the colonists, construction of the church did not begin until 1936. Harry K. Wolfe, assistant architect with the ARRC, designed the church as a volunteer. Volunteer workers were supervised by Leo B. Jacobs, an experienced construction foreman, and “the church of a thousand trees” was completed in the spring of 1937.
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