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Church District

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1923–1931. Church St., between 6th and 7th sts., and School St.

Despite having addresses on adjoining streets, Zion, Calvary, and Graystone churches stand together facing what was once the church square (1808) of Indiana. Much of the land was later sold as commercial and residential lots, but the three churches remain on one block of the aptly named Church Street. A fourth church, Grace United Methodist, is two blocks to the west.

Zion Lutheran Church ( IN4.1), the earliest (1922–1923; Church and 6th streets), was designed by Philadelphia architect George C. Baum, who trained with an eminent designer of Roman Catholic churches, Edwin F. Durang, but specialized in Lutheran churches in his own architectural practice. This rusticated sandstone Gothic Revival building replaced a church of 1880. A square corner tower flanks the buttressed triple-arched entrance that opens directly into a traditional nave and aisle plan. A large stained glass window fills the area above the portico. The manse next door is attributed to Leo A. McMullen from Apollo, Pennsylvania.

At the other end of the block and built a year later, in 1924, Calvary Presbyterian Church ( IN4.2; 695 School Street) was designed by J. C. Fulton and Son. Constructed of an unusual deep red Hummelstown brownstone, the heavy, solid stonework contrasts with the lightness of the Gothic-arched openings. A prominent square corner tower separates the two entrances on the north and east elevations. The deep porches and squat columns of these entrances are not imposing and have an inviting human scale. Fulton's design has his trademark stained glass domed ceiling, this one designed by the Rudy Brothers Company of Pittsburgh, rising above the Akron plan sanctuary. The large east window is by Dodge and Company of New York, but the remaining art glass is by Rudy Brothers.

Graystone United Presbyterian Church ( IN4.3; 640 Church Street), a separate branch of Presbyterianism, but now under the same administration, was built two years after Calvary Presbyterian, in 1926. With its buttresses along the side walls, simple pinnacles at the roofline, and more elaborate ones at the corners, Graystone is the most obviously Gothic Revival of the three churches. Its Scottishborn architect George Espie Savage designed over three hundred churches, mostly Presbyterian, during his long career.

Grace United Methodist Church ( IN4.4; 712 Church Street) is removed from the rest of the group in size, date, and style. It is the largest of the four, occupying nearly an entire city block. The Colonial Revival church was dedicated in 1931, replacing an older 1870s building. Designed by John T. Simpson in red brick, it has a soaring steeple above the main entrance that is sheltered by a pedimented porch supported on cast-marble Corinthian columns. In 1974, a major fire damaged the kitchen and the roof, both of which were replaced.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Church District", [Indiana, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 203-204.

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