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Bayard Sharp Hall

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St. Thomas Church
1843–1844. 1866–1867 tower and chancel
  • Bayard Sharp Hall (St. Thomas Church)
  • Bayard Sharp Hall (St. Thomas Church)

A recent addition to the university's holdings, this was one of the first churches founded as the Episcopal denomination returned to vigor in Delaware under Bishop Alfred Lee. The nave is flanked by buttresses and has a crenellated tower in front. Brick walls were later covered with stucco scored to resemble ashlar. Other Gothic Revival churches of this form exist on the Delmarva peninsula, including St. John's Chapel, Talbot County, Maryland (1835). The architect of St. Thomas is unknown; it might have been the famous Richard Upjohn, with whom a vestryman corresponded in summer 1843, or perhaps the commission ultimately went to the competing architect (not named in the correspondence). About 60,000 “good, well burnt, merchantable bricks” came from the George Evans brickyard on Elkton Road. Philadelphia bricklayer Joseph Hicks agreed to lay them “with all possible dispatch” and to erect buttresses and “front and back battlements.” After World War II, the growing congregation moved to a new facility (1954–1959, Victorine and Samuel Homsey) on S. College Avenue and sold the old church to the town, which used it as a library from 1956 to 1974. Subsequently, there were plans to demolish the dilapidated building, but the university eventually purchased it and undertook a thorough renovation for a performing-arts center (1998–1999, Homsey Architects). Epoxy was injected to strengthen water-damaged walls and all the stucco was replaced.

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "Bayard Sharp Hall", [Newark, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-NK9.16.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 187-187.

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