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Saint Philip's Episcopal Church

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1903. 446 Church St.

Saint Philip's Episcopal Church has a design as unusual as its history. It is, in effect, a T-shaped cottage. The crossbar of the T is the front, accented by a side-gable roof and a double outside stairway (the latter dating from 1934). The entrance is through a pointed-arch doorway beneath a fish-scale-shingled cross gable. The nave of the church extends as the stem of the T. It is covered by a high hip roof, the front plane of which is a continuation of the roof over the entrance. Awkwardly placed at the peak of these roof planes is a small octagonal belfry. The building has beveled siding and tall windows with two-over-two lights that contain stained glass.

Built by Oscar Carlson and H. D. Campbell in 1903, the church was constructed as the Peoples' Church, a bold attempt to integrate the Presbyterian congregations. Rev. Harry P. Corser arrived in Wrangell in 1899 as minister for the First Presbyterian Church, a missionary church organized in 1879 for Tlingit, and for the Second Presbyterian Church, organized in 1898 for Americans. Leading a faction composed primarily of Tlingit dissatisfied with the discriminatory policies of the Presbyterian church, Corser founded a new congregation, which constructed this building in 1903 and named it the Peoples' Church.

Finally rejecting the Presbyterian church altogether, the Peoples' Church affiliated with the Episcopalians and in 1905 was renamed Saint Philip's. Corser was ordained an Episcopalian priest in 1907 and continued to serve this church until retirement in 1934.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Alison K. Hoagland
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Citation

Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Philip's Episcopal Church", [Wrangell, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/AK-01-SE061.

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 199-200.

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