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St. John's Episcopal Cathedral

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1911, Gordon, Tracy and Swarthwout. 1313 Clarkson St. (NR)

The New York City firm that won a national architectural competition for the design of this cathedral accommodated the surrounding residential neighborhood with a low, generously landscaped English Gothic Revival design clad in random-coursed Indiana limestone. A carillon of fifteen bells is housed in matching square, castellated towers flanking the north entrance. The fifty-one stained glass windows range from Gothic Revival to contemporary in style. A rosebush in the Adam and Eve window was added when a seductive Eve proved distracting to churchgoers. The altar, altar screen, and reredos, carved from Salonica oak, are from the congregation's first church at Broadway and Welton, which was destroyed by fire.

A taller central tower, transepts, and south additions included in the original design were never completed. The attached Parish House (1928, Merrill H. and Burnham F. Hoyt) is of particular interest for its Gothic Revival St. Martin's Chapel, with a magnificent wooden reredos by sculptor Arnold Ronnebeck. Across the street at 13th Avenue and Washington Street, a Public Service Company substation (1990) camouflaged by brick-work and triangular pediments echoes the lines of the cathedral rectory.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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