In 1934, Eames set up an architectural firm in St. Louis with his friend Robert Walsh. During their first year, they designed several houses and two Catholic churches in the Arkansas Delta—this building and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Helena (PH8). While both churches are a modern interpretation of medieval architecture, St. Mary is Romanesque in inspiration, whereas St. Mary’s looks back to Gothic. This red brick church is rectangular in form with low side aisles, a gabled front, and half buttresses defining the building’s corners. A large semicircular arch of off-white stone encloses the wooden entrance, above which is a small statue of Mary positioned on a ledge. In the gable are twelve tiny, square, stained glass windows arranged in the shape of a Greek cross. A three-story square tower rises above the chancel, and the apse is polygonal. Inside the church, the walls are of buff-colored brick, and the space is organized with a central aisle covered by massive dark-colored timber beams. Most of the stained glass clerestory windows are in abstract patterns of blue, green, and yellow. They were designed by the architects and manufactured in the Emil Frei Stained Glass studio of St. Louis, as were the enameled Stations of the Cross, which have the architects’ initials scratched into them.
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St. Mary Catholic Church
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