The history of the design of the church, and the resulting building, represented a major disappointment for Sullivan and ultimately for the congregation of the church. In 1910 a competition limited to twelve architects was held. The two designs that most attracted the attention of the church's building committee were those submitted by Louis H. Sullivan and by Purcell, Feick and Elmslie. The committee finally selected Sullivan's design, and he was commissioned to proceed with the
Sullivan's scheme consisted of three parts: a semi-circular auditorium (reflecting in part the fashion for the nineteenth-century Akron plan); a long rectangular volume that housed classrooms and other public spaces, located next to the auditorium; and finally a high tower with hipped roof, to the rear. The planning concept was brilliant, but the stripped-down quality of the exterior and interior leads to a bland, rather unsuccessful design. If the building could have been carried out as planned, it would have had a place alongside William Steele's and Purcell and Elmslie's Woodbury County Courthouse as one of the great monuments of the midwestern Prairie movement.