In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Romanesque Revival style in America was generally associated with the overscaled, massive forms of architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Cassell's Romanesque Revival design for this church is thus remarkable for its simplicity and restraint. The exterior is constructed of brick, with the exception of twin round-arched portals, executed in stone, that form the main entrance on the north facade. A tall, narrow round-arched window with elaborate plate tracery sits directly above the entrance, and to either side stand towers of unequal shape and height. Three levels of windows alternate with attached buttresses along the side walls, and shed dormers break the slope of the handsomely patterned slate roof. The vast width of the interior is spanned by hammerbeam trusses reinforced by wrought iron tie rods. A U-shaped gallery supported on cast iron columns surrounds the side and rear walls. Installed around 1890 and substantially rebuilt and modernized over the ensuing years, St. John's pipe organ holds the distinction of being the first in an African American church in the city and, possibly, the commonwealth. The adjacent Colonial Revival parsonage was designed in 1907 by John Anderson Lankford, a pioneering African American architect who was closely associated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
You are here
St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.