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First Presbyterian Church

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1876, 1889, Jones and Baldwin and N. J. Clayton. 1903 Church St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

The First Presbyterian Church is one of the outstanding nineteenth-century buildings of Texas. It suggests the influence of mid-nineteenth-century French architect and theorist Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, not only because it is based on French Romanesque architectural models but because of the sculptural intensity of its white, stucco-surfaced brick walls. The powerful composition of the 19th Street front, which rises from weighty pier buttresses framing the triple-arched doorways to an ethereal screen of blind arches beneath the gabled roof, relies on massing rather than architectural ornament. This church is the building that brought Clayton to Galveston in 1872. Clayton had moved from Cincinnati, his American hometown, to Houston, where he had relatives, in 1871. From Houston he came to Galveston to administer construction of the church for Memphis, Tennessee, architects Jones and Baldwin.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "First Presbyterian Church", [Galveston, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 416-416.

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