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St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church

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1845–1860. 1888, George Whitson. 219 South Queen St. (west side of South Queen St. between East King and East John sts.)

Standing tall across South Queen Street from the Presbyterian church, St. Joseph's was originally a rather plain brick rectangle atop a high limestone basement. In 1888 George Whitson added the portico and spire, a curious amalgam of Greek and Gothic motifs. The well-proportioned, pedimented portico with fluted Corinthian columns on a high foundation is approached by stairways from either side. The spire, less Gothic in detail than in spirit, rises directly from the ridge of the portico roof instead of the more usual location on the ridge of the church roof behind. This placement produces an uncomfortably lopsided appearance, and from certain angles it appears as if the steeple is about to topple into the street.

The interior, altered to accord with the precepts of Vatican II, retains few original fittings but contains handsome faceted stained glass windows from the Willet Studios of Philadelphia. Set into the original arched window openings, these depict carefully chosen subjects appropriate to Martinsburg and Berkeley County. Apples and peaches, a B&O train, Confederate and Union hats with an olive branch, and even the flags of Ireland and Italy—representing the two major national groups in the parish—are included.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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