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Saint Thomas Episcopal Church

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1894–1899, Theophilus P. Chandler. 1772 Church St. NW
  • (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

All that survives of Philadelphia architect Theophilus P. Chandler's rock-faced Neo-Gothic church is its fragmentary east end, essentially two bays with English perpendicular blind tracery that flank a partially preserved carved altar screen set between clustered piers. Originally the Latin-cross church seated 850 people and its lantern tower rose 100 feet above the crossing. The decision by parishioners in 1970 not to rebuild Saint Thomas after it had been nearly destroyed by arsonists, but to stabilize the ruin and make it the centerpiece of an urban park, was due to the small size of the congregation and its commitment to the needs of the socially evolving neighborhood. Romantic ruins as memorials or landscape garden elements are common in Europe, but such a pensive interlude is entirely unexpected in Washington and therefore quite evocative.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Saint Thomas Episcopal Church", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 327-327.

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